Archive for the 'Other Stuff' Category


Thursday, August 4th, 2022

Collection of Images & Themes : click the image

It’s Cold!

Saturday, January 17th, 2009


(degrees Celsius)

First Snow

Friday, November 21st, 2008


Autumn Leaves

Saturday, November 8th, 2008


Just Couldn’t Sleep

Tuesday, November 4th, 2008


Tough night, tossing and turning with anticipation of being able to comment on the Current Administration’s performance, ethics and character and on the promise of The Alternative through this historic vote. Lynne and I were numbers 3 and 4 at the polling station very early this morning and to hear the announcement, as you entered the booth, that “Lynne Parry is recording her vote” and “Michael Parry is recording his vote” brought a satisfying shiver down the spine. Democracy at work, in actuality.
Voting provides the opportunity for making the statement that; integrity is essential, ethics count, character matters, visibility and accountability matter, civil liberties matter and the erosion must cease, unlawful and un-winable wars must end with dignity reflecting the sacrifices made…but must end, the country needs to rejoin the international community with less arrogance and bullying to be replaced with humility (from stregnth) and more diplomacy and thereby assume its critical global leadership role, that torture in any form is unacceptable and that working in a collaborative way with all parties can, should and indeed must be the way forward.

This, the second time we’ve voted in a US national ballot, was something we looked forward to and provided immense satisfaction having done it.

The Foxes of Foxmeadow

Saturday, January 19th, 2008


We’re blessed with a strong population of foxes in the area, and with three in particular that have become so used to us and to the dogs that they sit and watch us, as we watch them. Rarely does a walk with the dogs go by that we don’t encounter at least one, and often at very close quarters. The three foxes we see regularly are very distinguishable, with different reds and varying combinations of black and white, enough that we can tell them apart. We often see them together play-fighting and chasing or just basking in the sun. But they hunt separately, their intensity and pace we’ve assumed is an indicator of their hunger level. They have found a good way of both relaxing and hunting at the same time, which they accomplish by hanging out at the burrow of a groundhog (a badger-like animal (but not as nice) that we also have lots of around the place), just waiting.


Three years ago we had a brood of foxes born in local gardens. Early mornings and late evenings would find them playing like kids on the lawn, chasing each other, staring at us as we watched their antics.

Fascinating to watch and hopefully keeping the local vermin in-check we think of these as good neighbours and friends and look forward to our encounters.


English Food – a bad ‘wrap’?

Wednesday, December 26th, 2007


For a country with just 6% of the population owning passports the US has a surprisingly well developed negative opinion of English food. We’re here in Southport England, our previous home-town before moving to the US, enjoying the wonderful comfort and unique company of family and friends, but also catching-up on the fine foods and the best of beers we’ve missed. No tortilla or flour wraps here, the wholesome and flavourful foods served in pubs now equals that of many English restaurants and is simply a treat for us. Meats, pies, with correctly cooked vegetable and tasty potatoes are the usual fare, and come at very affordable prices. Matched with unsurpassed beers including Old Peculier [sic] and Old Speckled Hen served pulled by hand and at cellar temperatures – not chilled -make the whole experience such a pleasure for us.

Fish and chips at The Swan is a must-do for us, and I made two visits on this brief trip. Melt-in-the-mouth cod, mushy pea’s and chips – all freshly cooked and served piping hot accompanied by buttered white bread and a generous pot of tea…..just wonderful.

I suppose it’s what your used to, the foods of your childhood that breeds the biases that results in our lingering taste for the familiar, badly missed when we can’t get them. And that leads to us being more critical of the ‘local’ foods available to us, and that become substitutes. There isn’t much American food that I dislike. But it’s all still a substitute, until our next visit home.

So Just Who Are they Talking With?

Saturday, December 22nd, 2007

NY Cab

Cab rides in New York City are a combination of high adventures and nightmares but are a required pastime to get about the city with luggage, briefcases that are heavier that most toolboxes or when you just can’t face the subway anymore. The 13,000-some cabs themselves are, for the most part, the same – Medallion taxis, Ford Crown Victoria’s, painted yellow etc. But the drivers are each very different and make – or break – a reasonable trip with their attitude and temperament, be it up or down. I’ve experienced both, and everything in-between, but overall positive.

No matter what the nationality, the time of day or night, road and traffic conditions, most NY cab drivers are on the cell (mobile) phone continuously. Wireless ear-pieces, flashing blue, connect them throughout the entire trip…. to who? Who are they talking with? There’s no ‘office’ dispatching them to addresses about the city. That’s unnecessary here when there are always more clients than taxi’s and hailing cabs street-side is the norm. So who are they talking with, and about what? And who’s paying? It’s as intriguing (and fun) as is trying to guess the ethnicity and/or language in use, the range is astounding and represents the fascinating diversity of the city itself.

The next time I get a ‘nice’ driver I may pluck up the courage to ask. I’ll make sure I’m about to leave the cab and am in a crowded area. You never know. And I may not like the answer!

Not Just Yet

Saturday, December 22nd, 2007

There it was. Right on the screen. I hadn’t expected it. It was a jolt I didn’t need. Dan’s name and his cell phone number, ready for me to call him. Dan, a good friend, fellow pilot, fellow sporting clays shooter, was killed just two weeks ago while piloting his aircraft here in Delaware. A tragic accident and devastating loss to his very young family, his friends, his colleagues and to the clients of his specialised software products – just about to be released in the new year after years of development and of which he was very proud.

And here’s the dilemma. When is it ok to delete Dan’s phone number from my contact list, or to remove his address from my email list? Despite the jolt of seeing his name scroll up on the car phone display it was good that I thought of him again. We’d conversed by email a week or so before the accident. Shall we go shooting this weekend? Yes, lets. We had to cancel, my fault, and we didn’t meet. Damn.

So, I’ll keep his name out-there some more. I don’t mind being prompted into remembering him as fondly as I do. I’m not ready for that minor act of removal or distancing. Not just yet.

Miss you Dan.

Dan and I in the Beech Duke

Only Outlaws Will Have Commas

Sunday, December 16th, 2007

Gun laws are always contentiously debated. A recent NYT article by Adam Freedman sheds new light (for me at least) on the issue, going back all the way to the oft-quoted Constitution and which shows that the use and subsequent interpretation of English and, more importantly in this case, punctuation and the use of capitals can have. The Constitution states:

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

Note the commas and the lack of capitalisation of ‘people’, both used by the two factions debating gun laws to further their argument and cause, for and against. Taking away the commas helps I think but, as the intriguing article points out, could lead to only outlaws having them!

If only we had access to The Framers to ask them what they intended when they penned (quilled?) the Constitution, and to be able to ask if they would change it now based on the current dispiriting and too-often deadly circumstances endured here.

I Say!

Monday, July 30th, 2007

From my friend Everitt:

For you lovers and good users of the English language:

The English are feeling the pinch in relation to recent terrorist threats and have raised their security level from “Miffed” to “Peeved.” Soon though, security levels may be raised yet again to “Irritated” or even “A Bit Cross.” Londoners have not been “A Bit Cross” since the blitz in 1940 when tea supplies all but ran out. Terrorists themselves have been re-categorized from “Tiresome” to “A Bloody Nuisance.” The last time the British issued a “Bloody Nuisance” warning level was during the great fire of 1666.

Forget the Wall Street Journal

Thursday, July 19th, 2007

Need the latest news, gossip and business updates? Forget the WSJ, forget the NY Times. Take the 5pm Amtrak Acela from Penn Station NYC, going south toward DC. At no cost you will be treated to an update of all the latest happenings, the new deals signed that day, who’s hiring and firing who, who’s is, who’s out. It’s all there, provided to you – whether you want it or not – from a variety of fellow-passengers anxious to make their bragging calls to their office-bound colleagues, crowing about their signings and accomplishments of the day. They do this over cellphones, which are hardly needed due to the volume of their reports, the velocity of which increases with every south-bound mile. Apart from being objectionably loud and annoying to anyone within four rows these ‘professionals’ and road-warriors impart information, data, dates, names and other otherwise company-confidential stuff it would make their CEO cringe. Arrgh.

Me? I’ve heard it all before. I’m now immune, under the spell of Nils Lofgren and his incredible guitar via my iPhone and iTunes.


Sunday, July 15th, 2007

After three weeks of the iPhone I can report not only satisfaction with the device but that I’m impressed every time I use the thing – and that’s rare. It’s gaining accolades elsewhere too:

The Most Successful Product Intro of the 21st Century : “Apple’s iPhone could emerge as the most successful product introduction of the 21st century, new research suggests.” Conducted by Lightspeed Research, “the research findings are staggering,” reports Jonny Evans (Macworld). “Nearly 90 percent” of the respondents had heard about iPhone, and 32% of those who didn’t already own one intend to purchase one. In a separate survey, Lightspeed Research also learned that “nearly half of those who would like to own an iPhone stated that the benefits of having music, movie, internet and wireless all in one was the top reason.”


I have trouble associating myself with anyone called ‘Jonny’, nonetheless the iPhone is a clearly big success for all concerned. It got a little tedious hearing news reporters challenging people on the street with “Would you pay $600 for a phone?”. It’s like describing a Porsche as a car, when it’s a lot more. Duh.

Anyroadup, not only am I chuffed with the incredible iPhone but, having bought the stock after being really impressed with the iPhone video Apple sent me just four weeks before the launch, and having seen the stock gain 9% (on paper at least, with which I could bought another iPhone) I pretty good all-round. Ha!

iPhone – not quite what Mr Jobs envisaged

Tuesday, July 3rd, 2007

Lynne says it was the first time I’ve joined a line for anything. But there I was, stood on the pavement outside the ATT store at 5pm, a full hour before distribution would start. The line was 40 strong, 10 of whom had sat there since 6am that morning. By 6pm there were 10 more enthusiasts behind me. I met some people I know, and the weather was warm and mild so the time passed pretty quickly, until that is the store doors opened at 6pm. Expectation was that we’d stream in, put down our monies and walk away clasping what we all come for the iPhone. After all, activation would take place at home, via iTunes – another of the revolutionary features of this revolutionary product – right? Wrong. There was no ’streaming-in’, it was a slow, unmoving shuffle that took another 100 minutes, as people opened-up ATT accounts, dealt with back-bills etc etc. We folks with existing ATT accounts, good credit and green-backs in-hand got no pref treatment. Very silly, and a waste of everyone’s time-especially mine. Meanwhile we were shepherded and ‘entertained’ by an Apple rep, who walked the line and who took great glee in withholding answers to reasonable questions and generally teasing we liner-uppers, queuing for his product.
To “How many iPhones do you have in the store?” the answer was “I can’t say”. Same to “Well, do you have enough?”. We only got anything like a reassuring answer when the question “Well, if you didn’t have enough for everyone in-line would you tell us??” was formulated and positively responded to. Annoying and arrogant on his and Apples part.
Not what Mr Jobs envisaged.
In the store it took me just 120 seconds to effect the purchase.

I got the 8GB iPhone home only to find the SIM card was defective. It said so on the screen. If only I’d opened it up in the store, which was now closed. The Apple Store , which I’d avoided thus far anticipating throngs of ‘dudes’ with goatees and ponytails, was open until midnight. I dashed over there. The place was open, and empty, with a stack of iPhones still for sale. A black-Tshirted ‘genius’ swapped mine for a iPhone with a working SIM (I checked!). And so to home, now midnight.
Firing up iTunes, the iPhone connected – and failed to activate. My ATT settings weren’t as it wanted them. Bah! To bed. Enough.
Not what Mr Jobs envisaged.
I was at the ATT store at 8.50am the next morning. They opened at 9, and watched me pound the pavement outside the store, staring at each other through the store windows until the stroke of 9 (nice job guys!).
They adjusted my account settings, complicated in-that Lynne and I share the account – duh! Then home, and had it working within minutes.
Not what Mr Jobs envisaged.
In the face of all of this torture I really like the device and its features and will test-drive some more before recording my experiences here.