Any excuse for a decent car pick - this is the 560bhp M5 from Lumma Design, with 21 inch wheels, and low profile tires so low you can barely see them. Still not 100% on the two tone paintwork (or maybe is carbon, in which case I'm a believer).
Good to see the UK is getting in on the Apple ads. I haven't decided which ones I prefer, but I definitely prefer the US prices for their computers, after getting stung with the VAT (oh how I remember you not so fondly, dear tax) for the parents iMac (and the brothers gearbox come to think of it).
Oh, and completely unrelated, I've started using Google Reader - if you're trying to keep up with a few websites, it's pretty handy. I had avoided desktop newsreaders for a long time, coz they totally hosed up my productivity with their incessant dinging, telling me I had something that had to be read. At least with this I have some semblance of control (and peace and quiet), and being able to star posts makes it nice and easy for me to catch up on my posts...
No sausages in sight, but a couple of things from the web that may or may not interest you. First of is the pic from Mr Kirkwood back over in Europe, telling us to stop whinging about the snow in Denver (thanks mate - 6 weekends in a row if the storm comes as predicted tomorrow - u know what that's doing to my social life! I even had to go out for beers last night, just in case!).
Next a (reportedly on the record) summary of why the US should institute something similar to Prime Ministers Question Time like we have in the UK - Bush would have been kicked out a long time ago:
In an interview, Pelosi also said she was puzzled by what she considered the president's minimalist explanation for his confidence in the new surge of 21,500 U.S. troops that he has presented as the crux of a new "way forward" for U.S. forces in Iraq.
PELOSI: He's tried this two times — it's failed twice. I asked him at the White House, 'Mr. President, why do you think this time it's going to work?'
BUSH: Because I told them it had to.
PELOSI: Why didn't you tell them that the other two times?
OK - so this took a while, but I finally did manage to get the photo's and one video uploaded from the weekend. The highlight was the Ricky Hatton fight - one of those things that you didn't know was going on, then getting last minute tickets (pretty close to the ring too) and having an absolute blast.
The weekend had started off ok with on-time flights, a decent room at the Bellagio (for a special price based on the fact that I always hand over lots of additional cash to the casinos when I'm there), and actually finding my wife in the huge complex that is known as MGM. However, we were both feeling pretty rough, with a hectic week almost behind us, and a decent bout of cold/flu type symptoms that had us dragging. A couple of cocktails and some wasabi peas helped out at Tao in The Venetian, but then we hit the wall and headed back for room service and a pretty early night (although I did go back downstairs for an hour on the machines to lose even more money).
Saturday was the best day - we hit Stratosphere (the cheap places always seem to be luckier for me) and managed to win a little money. Ended up staying there until around 4, when the plan emerged for the Hatton fight (we had saw a poster the night before when wandering around). Tickets secured, a quick change at the hotel, a run across the road, disappointment when we realized the ticket office had told us a 7pm start meant that was when the 2 main fights were starting, and we had missed the 3 or 4 fights on the undercard, but then elation when we saw where our seats were. The guys next to us were a good laugh as well, and the beer section was close enough to run to and stock up as necessary (there appeared to be waitresses wandering around taking orders, but one waitress per 500 people meant it was a crap shoot to even get her attention, and the time between ordering and receiving bordered on the ridiculous). The place was full of dodgy blokes from Manchester, but everyone was in good spirits and the atmosphere got better as the night went on. Even the HBO camera teams were good crack (they were pretty close to our seats for most of the night, and spent what seemed to be a large part of the time taking video of the wife - she did look particularly stunning that night though, I must say). Photos are uploaded here - some of the fight ones came out ok, but my favorite is this one of Larry Merchant - he really thought Heidi was a huge fan and asked her to wait a second so he could pose properly for the close up. Little did he know we actually slag him off soooo much when we're watching HBO - he's way too old and losing a couple of marbles to keep up with the modern game. Even though we knew he wore a decent amount of make-up, nothing prepared us for the shock of the real thing - that stuff was shovelled on his face, and must have been an inch deep! And the young(er) guy who sits with him was no better.
Anyway, after the fight, we hit Bally's for a bit, and then planned to meet up with Heidi's friends form work over at Hard Rock. Through some connections, luck and a small amount of cash exchanging hands, we bypassed the ridiculous line outside and headed straight for the VIP section. There weren't any VIP's in there though, so we just pretended to be rich and famous, and had a few cocktails to wind down the night. Unfortunately, at around 2am, I realized that the half a tuna melt I had at 1pm wasn't going to be quite enough to soak up all the alcohol (I had started drinking at about 1.05pm and hadn't really stopped for too long), so what followed next should have been expected. I won't go into too many details here (see Mam, I do protect you just in case you read this), but it involved a speedy walk/run to the bathroom, almost making it, a trashcan, 3 bouncers, a cleaner and for some strange reason a midget on a stool pressing elevator buttons (quickly followed by 2 people getting "friendly" but totally being busted when they didn't realize they were leaning against an elevator door). The conclusions were all good though - no bruises, another thing off my "things to do before I die" list (being asked to leave a Vegas club), and I was feeling great.
Sunday was the usual blow out - we got a late checkout, room service breakfast, delayed flight and then more snow to arrive back to (just under a foot in our street). However, Saturday made the whole weekend worth it (and is still making me smile today).
I know how some parents are a little scared of letting their kids out into the fake wild world of the internet, given the opportunity for not nice people to pretend they're someone or something else than they really are, and take advantage of their sweet and innocent kids. However, it's not always the kids who have to watch out. Over at the SFGate, there's this weird story about a little love triangle via the internet, which resulted in the only person who was telling the truth about themselves getting killed in an alleged rage of jealousy. Let that be a warning to you all (and just for the record, I look like my pic up there - maybe a little better shaven today, and a few more wrinkles around the eyes, but it is me - why would I fake a pic like that?).
No pics of Vegas uploaded yet - we got back late due to more snow in Denver yesterday (another foot to dig out of our driveway), the wife's velly velly sick and in bed, and I was late for work. So, full updates later on when I get the pics and videos loaded up. Let me tell you it'll be worth the wait though (well, maybe not, but I'm trying). Hopefully have some good pics of the big fight on Saturday night (Ricky Hatton, not me), and none of me getting escorted out of Hard Rock by the nice bouncers at Body English, so stay tuned.
Oh, yeah, and this is the first weather forecast we've had in the last 6 weeks that has no snow in the forecast - it makes me smile.....
A combination of good luck, the wife's work, her generosity in forking out for a flight for me and a very nice Bellagio marketing department have meant that Vegas is the destination this weekend. So, if you happen to be there, give me a call, and I'm guessing that there won't be any posts for a couple of days (unless my camera phone happens on something so outrageous it needs to be posted immediately). I don't think I've ever before been so excited to fly into 50 degree weather, but Denver hasn't been above freezing for a couple of weeks now, so it'll seem like a tropical paradise!
So the boss around here (well, we all own a piece of the company, but he's the one who tells us what to do, gets more of the headaches, and has the President title on his business card) became a US citizen yesterday, passing all the rigourous testing, pledging allegance (and helping a random pregnant woman to the front of the line so she could obtain the required paperwork before the baby dropped!).
So, it got me thinking about things - like whether or not I would ever become one. I'm probably a prime candidate - married an American woman, got a greencard, been here nearly 10 years now (what!!!!!), and still smile when I look out the office window at the snow capped mountains Colorado is luckily enough to share the state with. I even occasionally get pissed off at politicians, and love the fact that Vegas is less than 2 hours away if I need a break (or to lose some money very quickly).
Then I looked at the pros of the situation - realistically there's only a couple - you get to vote, you don't have to reapply for your greencard every 10 years, and if anything really really scary happened, and they kicked out all the non-citizens some day, I guess I'd be on the boat. You also get to apply for family members to come over and live in the US (something you can't do on a greencard), so if the rest of the clan ever decided to come over on a permanent basis, I guess I'd be applying.
So, not a bad collection of stuff I guess, but what about the cons - here's the kicker (and why I have so far resisted the (minor) temptation to consider an application) - if you're a US citizen, no matter which country you reside in, you owe Uncle Sam some tax. Now, for countries who have a special "you can tax ours if we can tax yours" policy like the UK, it doesn't really count - you pay local tax and you're pretty much good to go (although I did hear a rumour that you had to pay a little extra back to the mainland as well as the local, but that's never been confirmed). In countries where they don't have that in place, you get to play Double Jeapardy - pay local, pay US - that completely sucks. However, the one that gets me (given I'm still harbouring distant dreams of becoming incredibly wealthy and retiring somewhere nice), is that even if you sod off to some distant land that doesn't charge any tax, making your money last a little longer (Jersey, for example), the US isn't as generous as the UK with their "well, you're not using our country, so you don't have to pay for it approach". Oh no, they come after you each and every year for you to pay your little bit (or big I guess, if you've got enough money to retire to a tax free island).
So that's that. I considered it again, still have dreams of hitting the big time, so putting it off again. I want to fully enjoy my retirement loaded on a nice little island somewhere that doesn't charge tax...
Loads of info here, and pics here. Once again, I get a spare 2 minutes at work, try and upload and great pic, and Blogger doesn't co-operate - didn't the guys promise it would all work great and be super-scalable once we got the new version out? I guess this is the first upload I've had issues with in a couple of weeks, but still.....
Finally, Netflix started using the Net portion of it's name to good effect, announcing you can watch streaming movies online for no extra charge. Theory is this is starting this week - 6 hours per month if you're the cheapo with the one DVD out at a time plan, 18 hours if you have the popular (at least in our office) 3 DVD plan.
All the films are streaming, so no copy issues, and looks like all the major (and a decent number of minor) players have signed up. More details here (and CNN here)
Apparently, anyway. If it doesn't, it's not my fault. At this point anything to supercede the crap that is allegedly called a user interface on my Comcast branded Motorola DVR, which decided to freeze for about 5 minutes, storing all of my frantic button presses to be ran through in the following 30 seconds, resulting in the end of Law and Order: SVU vanishing in a flurry of super fast forwarding motion and me running round the house swearing at the top of my voice. (Luckily the real Tivo downstairs did it's stuff, so we didn't miss it completely).
Did I mention I love Tivo (unless you're trying to sign up for a 3 year plan for the father in law when he still has a year left on his one year gift subscription - apparently this throws the billing system into such confusion that the people on the other end of the line actually reject your offer of payment, and tell you to call back next week, when the subscription has ran out - now there's customer service for you).
Completely old news, but I just found out coz the new season of The Hills has started, and the wife is fixated on the TV, Lauren saw sense and dumped Jason. Turns out this broke back in August, but I wasn't paying attention in the slightest (ahh, I remember the days, temperatures were above freezing, and I had my summer tires on the car).
Speaking of cars, a gratuitous pic of the "old" Evo IX (X marks the spot later in the year, and everyone is eagerly awaiting the first reviews - please, please, please let it handle just as good as it's older relative), accompanied by a recent Jeremy Clarkson review. Apparently old people get in the way, and shouldn't be let out of the house - and I thought you grew out of these thoughts once you finished school/uni and realized you were one of those "old" people the young kids refer to. Guess not, but great review.
One of the problems with not having any time to post during the week is that you end up with way too many vids to post directly on the site (not through laziness you understand, just I know how you all hate to scroll down too far..).
So, one post, and a few links so that if you're interested, you can click through and watch. Colbert gets the post, as I'm not sure I've ever posted him up here before, and just so I don't come across as a total Apple fan who doesn't recognize there may be the occasional flaw in some of their stuff (another 2 years with Cingular is probably going to make Kathy shiver in fear..).
BMW answered the call from people who go to B&Q every weekend with the M5 Estate version of it's super fast (and not very cheap) mid sized saloon. I'm sure if you need the space, then this thing will come in handy, and obviously compete with Audi's Avant variant of the S6.
Performance looks to be the same, and 500 bhp (when you press the power button) should be enough to get you home in time to finish the decorating, and before Ant and Dec appear to entertain your Saturday night. (All English references in this post coz it's not going to make it over here to the USA).
Another shocking week for updates - going to try and catch up with cool stuff from CES, MacWorld and Detroit over the weekend, while huddled in front of the fire until another (very) cold front passes through.
So, this is a quickie, about nothing connected at all.
MyBlogLog got bought by Yahoo - hopefully lots of cool integration with Flickr and the other tools they have, but we'll wait and see. In case you forgot, they're the people who kindly supply the info over to the right about who has visited the page from their wide and varied collection of fellow bloggers (and hello if you're here because of them). I've actually used the site way more than I ever thought I would, and ended up some damn fine sites that I never otherwise would have even considered (how's that for a plug?). In my list of daily reads while stuffing my face with an awful sandwich from the shop downstairs, if that tells you anything.
My Slingbox is up and running. Works great on the PC in the house, haven't yet got it to work outside of my network (I had to do some techie things with the router to open up ports and the like, but still no luck yet), and trying to work out if the Mac version is either not quite as good yet, or if my Mac is too old to process all the data quick enough for a decent viewing experience. Another weekend project I think to look into all this (along with finally taking down the Christmas tree lights!).
Photos need loading from Laurens going away get together, and Brent/Troy/Brother-in-law's birthday party at the bowling alley downtown (I bowled an astounding 135!!! so was pretty pleased). Another weekend thing. Speaking of Lauren's going away, this is where the Iron Monger revealed his latest injury (photo to come soon I hope). Proving how hard he is (I think it was all that wind in the hills of Consett that did it), he felt no pain, but couldn't grip anything. Fast forward to yesterday, where an operation involving sleep, 6 pins, a few cuts and some rebuilding of the thumb and wrist area where required to hopefully get him fully fit again. So get well soon Rob.....
So Beckham has formally announced (press conference, offical statement, the works) that he's leaving Real Madrid at the end of the season, and jetting off to LA to join the Galaxy in the MLS. I'm not sure if he's ever seen a game over there, but it's a good place to go towards the end of your career - he'll pretty much clean up. The standard isn't as good by a decent stretch (most of the good players you see in the World Cup team somehow end up playing in Europe), and the pace of the game is nice and easy. Given you're not allowed to put any hard tackles in without the whistle going, he's probably going to get a decent number of free kicks around the box as well, so all good for him.
I wonder if this will do anything for the MLS out here - I mean, he's probably the worlds best known footballer, and he's been over here a few times doing some self promotion, but footy is very much a 3rd division sport over here - superceded by pretty much everything, and not only at professional level - college as well. Still, only time will time - at least he went to LA, who do actually have a decent number of fans turn up for games (something to do with all the non-natives who live there is my guess). Let's see if ESPN decides they want to start showing a couple of games...
Now that Lauren has headed off to the other side of the world (Mozambique to be precise), and no doubt will be struggling to get any sort of internet access, I'm free to post car stuff again, without threat of reprisals.
So here goes - got a lot to catch up with, given it's the Detroit Motor Show this week.
First up (not necessarily in importance) is Ford's new connectivity system - way too difficult to write about here, so just check out Jalopniks coverage.
Next is Jag's new concept, showing they're finally getting away from the old school looks, and moving towards what I personally believe is Jag's real history - maintaining a link to the past while actually movning styling forward - after all, the E-Type wasn't exactly a copy of an Aston, was it?
My new favorite car (even though it doesn't exist) is this little Fiat 500 Abarth. Lots of speculation here, but the thought of a tiny car with plenty of power showing up some of the big american cars just appeals to me in a big way. Even the red stripe looks cool.
Sorry, I know this is getting a bit boring - every Thursday or Friday, a new storm appears, and we all hunker down in the house with (hopefully) enough beer and logs for the fire to get us through the weekend. This weeks is apparently minor, but the predicted midday stopping point slid by without a break, and updated forecasts for 5pm are now superceded by a middnight prediction. Oh happy days.
Still, looking on the bright side of things, the roads aren't quite as bad as depicted below (although this morning, the difficulty in pulling away was experienced by at least one car at every junction I had to stop on). Stay warm if you're in Denver, and enjoy the glow of warmth (or lack of ice) if you're somewhere else.
We went for the usual blast up to Frisco (in Colorado, not San Fransisco in California, in case you were wondering). Lots of people made it up this year, and everyone seemed to be having a lot of fun. Too much Red Bull rendered sleep a little hard to come by once the celebrations were over, compounded by a 10am kick out time from the hotel, but we all survived to tell the tale.
And apologies for the lack of posts this week - I've entered into a new phase of my life which doesn't involve booting up the computer when I walk through the door every evening. Before you know it, I might even read a book! OK, maybe not, but I'll try and catch up over the weekend with plenty of random stuff (especially as it looks at the minute like it might be round 3 of being snowed in - what is going on in Denver this year....)