Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Cell Phone Choices

So it looks like we're finally getting off Sprint (Sprint Sux) and moving all our company phones over to Cingular (with the added benefit of Verizon data cards until the UMTS network rolls out on Cingular), so I have the usual dilemna. Which phone?

I've been keeping up to date with what's available on Cingular, and I'm torn. Do I go for the sensible work phone so I can have PDA like functions, get a cool picture phone, or something small and cheap to just work as a phone.

I thought I had it all sewn up, with the Motorola Razr seemingly and good compromise between all the difficult choices (made easier with the fact that we're skint at the minute, what with flights back to England, dishwasher, leak in the bathroom etc etc). I did briefly debate getting the Sony Ericsson P910a, the later version of my beloved P800 I got a few years ago, but given the cash situation, I decided against it.

Anyway, today Cingular threw a bit of a spanner in the works. It was a nice spanner, but nevertheless, still a spanner. The recently announced Sony Ericsson walkman phone (W600i, not the more expensive one) - I get a better cameraphone, PC and Outlook synching, better games, and the ability to obviously download a bit of music on it to listen to (oh, and an FM radio, which you don't seem to get much over here). And not everyone and their dog will have one of these.

Choices, choices, choices - any ideas anyone?

Monday, November 28, 2005

Kimberly Stewart And Talan Torriero's Fake Engagement Called Off

I can't believe I bought it....

Kimberly Stewart And Talan Torriero's Fake Engagement Called Off | A Socialite's Life

Friday, November 25, 2005

Back from Vegas

Originally uploaded by Aaron in Denver.
Survived, although a little tired - we stayed out after midnight every night, which in comparison to some previous trips is a major accomplishment. No huge winnings, but we came back almost even, thanks to the new Star Wars 1c machine, that seemed to sense I had the force....

And nope, I didn't get to sit down at the poker tables (my bad, bottled it when I had the chance). I guess that means I'll have to head back there soon to make sure this happens.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Let's Go To Vegas, Baby!

Hard Rock Cafe Sign
Originally uploaded by marmieej.
Posting may be paused for a couple of days, as the wife and I are off to live the high life at Hard Rock in Vegas. You never know, if I end up winning big, you may never hear anything else from me on this site. Given my recent form out there, there's no chance of that though (unless it involves a severe case of alcohol poisoning, rather than winning millions).

The big question is "will I get the balls to play poker for real?" Very tempted - just seems a little scary - will I need my sunglasses and baseball cap, will they see exactly what I have on every hand, what happens if I actually win etc etc. I'll no doubt attempt to talk myself out of it when I get off the plane, but hopefully I'll just take the plunge and play. It should be a slower way to losing my money than the slots at the very least.

Friday night out

It's about time Tonks made it onto these pages.

Anyway, night out on Friday (I know, actually leaving the house at the weekend) - lots of people in town - Graham was in from Oz for a few days, Cush was in coz he just started work at Enspiria and rumour was Percy was flying in that night, but too late to be out and about. Lauren was so excited about finishing her semester finals that she refused to stop talking all night, and Ash made it out just before we left for home.

Saw Kt for the first time since the wedding, and Amy rocked up late despite her recent car accident. There were a couple of minor incidents of note - Graham made a joke without involving girls parts, young children or Michael Jackson (it was I believe a first), and Mr Tonkin somehow enjoyed a nightmare moment at the hands of Amy, who is ever quick to pretend to be English and rip someone apart with a few choice words. Someone asked Amy where her boyfriend was, and before she even had a chance to answer, Tonks went into a 5 minute tirade about the fact that he doesn't exist, no-ones ever seen him, and we'll never believe Amy has a boyfriend until we see him in the flesh. Cue Amy "Well, actually, he dumped me, so you're right, he doesn't exist, and is a figment of my imagination". Tonks speechless is always priceless (it happens once or twice a decade if we're lucky).

Anyway, couple of other photos here

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Gumball 3000 2006

3 Continents, 3000 miles and way too much driving - the Gumball 3000 registration form is up on the web now. Make sure you have plenty of time free at the end of March, have a fantastic car to even be considered, and of course 40 grand (that's pounds young boy, not your less valuable dollar things) just for the entry fee. You get the usual 5 star hotel accomodations, along with a couple of free flights for you and your car (and a passenger), but you'll need to make sure you have a decent budget for fines/bail/bribes if it's anything like the last few.

Now if I can just work out how to gate crash one of their parties in Vegas (or maybe Utah would be more fun and easier to find), and save myself the entry fee....

Gumball 3000 Terms & Conditions of Entry 2006

Laguna Beach News

Confessions of a married man - I'm addicted, the wife is addicted, and I even watched a couple of episodes when she wasn't around to switch it on. It's even on the TiVo schedule preventing us from watching Prison Break on Fox.

This season is coming to an end (actually, think it finished on Monday, so back on the Prison Break trip from next week on - well, week after as we're hitting Vegas at the weekend for a few days of much needed rest and relaxation), but the good news is it's coming back next year, and the first spin-off has been announced starting in the New Year. Luckily, it was LC who got the sweet deal - the most normal (although judging from the house her parents has, probably the richest) and likeable girl on the show moves to LA to get into "fashion" and realize how many fake people actually exist in the real world.

Anyway, I digress - the point of this post is that somehow Talen (another one who seemed pretty cool and normal on the show) came up trumps by hooking up with Rod Stewarts daughter, and is now apparently engaged to her. Bit of a young boy, older girl thing going on (19 and 26) which I'm sure he's pleased about. Now if he can only stay our of trouble (and the back of Paris Hilton' car), and play footie well enough to please her Dad, he'll be onto a winner.

CNN.com - Stewart's child to marry 'Laguna' star - Nov 17, 2005

CNN/Money: Most dangerous toys

How people keep there jobs sometimes intrigues me. There's a whole agency looking out for the safety of kids, at risk from "dangerous" toys. I understand the need for this, but when they come up with an item like the one above (it's a nice Lord of the Rings Crossbow), you wonder how you would expect it to not be dangerous. Isn't the fact that you're selling kids a crossbow indication enough that it's going to be a little dangerous? Or did someone out there believe when they dreamt up the toy, that it would turn out to be nice and safe? There's a nice paintball gun on the list as well...

This is obviously the perfect opportunity for the "when I was a boy" statements that kids hate to listen to (oh dear, just realized I've grown old), but I will resist. For now. Possibly.

CNN/Money: Most dangerous toys

This is how to do a coupe (thank you Audi)

Given how awful the BMW couple was (article and pix further down the page if you didn't see it), it's refreshing to see that Audi still has the knack for producing classicly styled cars that look like they're carved out of solid metal.

I definitely like the front end more than the back (so still room for improvement) - the back is a little too much like an old Calibra (sorry US peeps, you'll have no idea what I'm talking about).

A full 4 seats mean it could even be practical, no doubt very pricey (why do you have to pay more for a car with less doors???) but the 420bhp V8 engine should keep people entertained for a while.

New Audi Coupe to get 420hp V8 - Jalopnik

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Mr Batty gets Interviewed

Just keeping up the Pete's in the Press theme of the last couple of weeks, so here's Pete's latest interview for Goeplace. He uses lots of big words.... ;-)

Google Raises the Profile of Geospatial Information

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Kazakhstan up in arms over Ali G spoof

Apparently the people of Kazakhstan really do have no sense of humour. Borat is a personal favourite since they started exporting Ali G over here for HBO - the never ending national anthem at the local baseball game is one that springs to mind.

Guardian Unlimited | Arts news | Kazakhstan up in arms over Ali G spoof

Update - the story also made CNN over here!

MTV To Broadcast For 4 Months Live In Vail

So here's the next challenge - get yourself on live TV in full colour, high definition. I'm sure the Aussies are practising their poses as we speak, and of course, the usual Phil in full ski outfit (purple one piece and a multi-coloured afro spring to mind) is bound to draw a crowd (or quick close-up at least).

First one on TV wins a free burger at one of the Vail resort restaurants (currently worth $27, not exchangable for cash, all rights reserved, for full details of all rules associated with this competition please look in the mirror, smile, and say "no chance")

TheDenverChannel.com - Local News - MTV To Broadcast For 4 Months Live In Vail

Dodgy Pop (of the drinking variety)

I haven't worked out yet whether or not this is purely for publicity, or people actually buy this stuff, but you can get salmon flavoured soda's from Jones for the holiday season (note the over here politically correct avoidance of Christmas). I can't think of anything that sounds worse, but they try with their other speciality flavours - turkey & gravy, corn on the cob, broccoli casserole and pecan pie. Has anyone ever tried these? And do they taste as bad as they sound?

Momentary Excitement, Followed by Disappointment

(No George, this is not a commentary on your lovelife.....)

And all because of one of my favourite website, Jalopnik.

It all started with the increased gas prices, which resulted in a flood of announcements about small cars invading the land of the big cruisers, and a chance I'd get a choice of something small, cheap and sporty to drive as my winter car (and let me get an Elise or Caterham for the summer).

Anyway, it was further fuelled this morning with the following quote
It’s good news for Americans, who will see the Clio appear next year in the form of its platform-mate Nissan Versa economy hatchback.
Of course, Clio and America in the same sentence has me running down the street looking for the most likely garage to start stocking the V6 or Clio Cup 182. And then I finished the sentence, and was immediately disappointed. Although they may be pretty much the same cars underneath, Nissan hasn't exactly been gracing the showrooms with decent high performance derivatives of their normal cars (I love the 350Z, so don't start screaming and shouting brothers) since the Sunny GTI-R back in the old days (it must have been old, coz it was meant to semi-compete with one of my favourite cars of all time, the Lancia Delta Integrale, and I was just a wee boy when that thing came out).

Anyway, back to the drawing board (Focus SVT with supercharger anyone?).

Electronic Impressionist Mimics Car Engine Sounds

I'm not sure whether or not I believe this thing, but apparently you hook it up to your rev counter and vacuum sensor, and all of a sudden, your car sounds like the car you select from the list. What I'm wondering is if this is an internal thing, to make the driver all happy and excited, or if you dump some big speakers in an outward facing manner, so the neighbours hear it?

More research needed, but I'm still all for the natural approach of a K&N filter and a nice chunky exhaust.

Electronic Impressionist Mimics Car Engine Sounds - Jalopnik

Monday, November 14, 2005

Bond's Aston Martin DB5 to be auctioned

The things I would do if I ever win the Powerball. This would definitely be pretty high up the list - the swivelling numberplate, Browning machine guns behind the headlights, and those wheel mounted tire slashers. Apart from the Countach (and a few Ferrari's that adorned my walls) this was my favourite car growing up.

Bond's Aston Martin DB5 to be auctioned - Nov. 14, 2005

Xbox 360 Launch Games Lineup

Project Gotham Racing 3 is in there, and a bunch of other cool games. Saw the box for real in Best Buy at the weekend, and it doesn't disappoint.

Xbox 360 Launch Games Lineup - Gizmodo

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Cake Baker

I realize I'm biased, but I think my wife is fantastic (I guess that's a good job since we're in this thing for life).
For some unknown reason, she thinks she's not very good at baking cakes - this despite the ecstatic reception to her previous Princess, Tigger and Nemo creations for various neices and nephews.
So today, I'm going public with her undoubted talent - the frog on the left was for Emma's second birthday on Wednesday night, and I think she did a damn good job. After the attempt I made at keeping an omelette in the pan this morning, I'm definitely in second place as far as cooking talent goes in this house (despite concocting purple chicken and hard potatoes one fateful New Years Eve...)

New Dishwasher

So a wise teacher back at John Spence once told me that once you get past a certain age, you end up spending all your savings on stuff you would never dream of buying when you're 16. Take yesterday for example - I made a trip to Best Buy (the Holy Grail of gadgets around here), and look what I came away with - a dishwasher!!!

Now this was a necessary purchase, and I'm not complaining - the old one started throwing bubbles and water all over the kitchen last week (and in typical fashion I was away with work, so the wife had to deal with it on her own - sorry baby), and after one day of hand washing, I realized it was a necessity. All those memories of spending most of Sunday afternoon in the kitchen fighting with brothers and sister over who washes and who dries the dishes came flooding back. So, back to Best Buy - never having bought a dishwasher before made the choice mostly based on looks. Stainless steel was therefore a necessity, and as long as it had that, I was happy. We hit lucky and the one we wanted was in stock as an open box item, saving us $200 bucks, and making it cheaper than The Great Indoors, even after the 5 year warranty was purchased (and if one more Best Buy sales person tells me they're not on commission for selling that stuff, I'm going to take them outside and let them talk to the front end of my shoes in rapid succession).

But the point was, I've often dreamed of just wandering into Best Buy and dropping a grand on stuff that hadn't been planned or saved for in advance. I just never expected it to be on something that didn't play games, music or tv programs. Now, if I can work out how to connect this thing to my homenetwork, and automatically get it to pack and unpack itself based on how tall the pile of dirty dishes were on the bench, we'd be talking.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

New Car in the Family

You saw the pictures of the crash, so a new car was inevitable. And it's a big one - a car way too impracticle for the UK, but perfect for over here. Sumptuous interior, a big 4.2 litre V8, and I'm very jealous (it's Gareth's, not mine). Hopefully I'll get a chance to drive it when I get back so that I can live my Ronin fantasy (if I can find any narrow streets in Denver)
Hopefully have some real picks after the weekend when I (finally) get home.

UPDATE - real pics now online here

Monday, November 07, 2005

The Press Releases of Peters Continues

My other friend Pete has his own quotes in articles from last week - chose the local website, as he "speaks" more in this one, but he also made the BBC and most of the other sports sites.

Obviously being the competitive sole that I am, when we sell our company to Google or whoever for 6 bazillion (or was that brazilian?) dollars, I'll be at the front of the line for talking to the press

icNewcastle - Wages drag Black Cats deeper in red

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Weekend Roundup

Spent the weekend in Atlanta - Heidi flew out on Friday night, instead of me rushing back for a couple of days, and we had a blast.

Saturday we went and picked up Tatiana and Millie for the afternoon - Chicken Little and Chuckee Cheese were the chosen activities, and we survived (although it was touch and go for a while - Chuckee Cheese should have a health warning for how loud it is). We made it back to the hotel in time to get dinner at one of the local Italian restaurants. We had a great bottle of wine, and the food was great too - I avoided the pizza after Chuckee Cheese, and ended up with a Tonkin favourite of pork chops. They were great. Another bonus was despite an inside smoking ban in Georgia, for some reason the Hilton Hotel lets you smoke in the bar.

Sunday we hit Ikea in a big way - in such a big way that we got lost on the way home looking for Target to get another suitcase. But that wasn't all - we needed packing tape when we got to the hotel, because there wasn't enough room even in the new suitcase! Still, we have a nice new light for the dining room and numerous other cool things. If only they would open one in Denver (or anywhere close), although that would necessitate a slightly more expensive purchase of a new truck or SUV to get all the flatpacks in there. Hopefully Heidi got on the plane ok with all her bags and packages. I think we worked out a way to get it all done, but only time will tell....

Now another work week in Atlanta, followed by a week back in the office and maybe a night out or two with the famous Mr Bland - I hope my liver will survive.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Hotels Suck (And the travel conspiracy theory)

In general, and sometimes coz of very specific reasons. Or maybe it's hotel chains that suck..

Anyway, despite trying to standardize on Marriott hotels for my travels this year, in a vain attempt to get enough points for a free vacation sometime before I die from all the travelling (it isn't going to happen.....), I'm in a Hilton for my longest trip of the year. It's not a bad hotel, but what really gets to me is the fact that if I had managed to stay in the Marriott here in Atlanta for all of my trips between now and the end of the year, I would have hit "Gold" status, meaning free room upgrades, extra bonus points (and here's the important bit) free beer after work every night. So, of course, I was a little excited at the prospect. Then I called the travel agent we go through, and I find out that every week I'm meant to be down here, the Marriott is booked out. There goes the free beer......

Now I understand hotels get full (especially with the conference gigs being moved away from New Orleans after Katrina), so I wasn't too upset (well, the free beer thing was a bit of a deal but I'd survive). Then we get down here, and the majority of the team I'm down with somehow managed to get into the hotel. And it's not even just this week - every other week that I'm down (and staying in a different hotel) someone got into the hotel I wanted to get into. So what was the deal? Do they realize you're coming up on a status upgrade, and just decide they'll make it difficult??? I can't imagine they'd be so bright, but you never know these days (If United stops flying to Denver for my next trip, and I miss out on Prem Exec status this year, I'll know there's a travel conspiracy going on........)

Still, the Hilton has a mini bar..... (if only I could work out how to get the drinks out without getting charged 20 bucks every time I open the door).