Saturday, February 24, 2007

Planet Earth (BBC)

Since I've already recommended a movie and a theatrical piece this week, I thought I'd add a DVD to the line-up. I don't watch much TV and had completely missed the Planet Earth series on BBC. Even if I knew about it, I'd probably not go out of my way to watch it, as I'm not a big fan of nature generally and nature programmes in particular. Suffice to say I've only watched one of Sir David Attenborough's previous documentaries - and that was through pure chance than intention. The only reason why I rented this is because of the brilliant reviews it had on Amazon. I rent DVDs from and often browse through lists, or look through "my recommendations" in the hope of finding DVDs that I'll enjoy but wouldn't normally choose. That's how I got to rent the first disc of the series.

It was fantastic. An absolute pleasure to watch. If you're remotely interested in animals or plants, you'll love it. I'm not particularly keen on either, and I was left mesmerised and totally in awe. I'm not going to rent the rest of the discs (there are five in total) because I'll buy the whole set, and when my godchildren are old enough, I'll sit and watch it with them.

Read more about it here.

Best of Brit Blog Awards 2007

I read about the Best of Brit Blog Awards organised by and Metro (one of these free newpapers you get outside tube stations so that you can read yesterday's news again on your way to work) in my friend Erica's blog. As far as I know it's the first year these Awards are being organised, but then I could be wrong - I commute by train from a small station which is clearly not considered important enough for freebies, so I hardly ever get to read Metro these days.

Even if you don't have a blog to nominate or vote for, I'd say check the link out. There's lots of information about blogging (how it started, how you can create your own blog, how you can find a blog etc.) as well as links to some pretty impressive blogs. I've found quite a few that I thought were interesting enough to add to my Favourites list.

This post had me laughing out loud.

Pop! Goes My Heart

I found the video clip from Pop! Goes My Heart on YouTube. Check out those hip movements ;-)

The clip is the opening sequence of the film Music & Lyrics. The rest of the film is set in the present day.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Me Got Itchy Hand...

... said Trekkie.

He also (infamously) said: The Internet Is For Porn.

Trekkie is a monster and lives on Avenue Q. He's obsessed with porn. He's also a puppet. Clearly, not the type you'd find on Sesame Street or the Muppet Show...

Avenue Q opened in London last summer, after three successful years in Broadway and a 2004 Tony Award for Best Musical. It tells the story of Princeton, a bright-eyed college grad who comes to New York City with big dreams and no money. He soon discovers that the only neighborhood in his price range is Avenue Q; which isn't the most upmarket of NY streets, and is about as far away from Park Avenue as you can get, but is home to some lively characters: Brian the out-of-work comedian and his therapist fianceé Christmas Eve (yes, that's her name - she's Japanese); Nicky the good-hearted slacker and his roommate Rod - a Republican investment banker who seems to have some sort of secret; an Internet addict called Trekkie (that's the one with the itchy hand); and a cute kindergarten teaching assistant named Kate. Avenue Q tells the story of Princeton and his newfound puppet and human friends, all struggling to find jobs, dates, and their ever-elusive purpose in life.

Several of the characters are parodies of classic Sesame Street or Muppet Show characters, but the themes explored (racism, internet porn and unemployment, amongst other things) are very adult indeed. It's interesting to see puppets and actors on stage at the same time, interacting with each other. Despite the fact that the puppets are manipulated by puppeteers, who are also on stage, the end result is fantastically fluid. You almost forget that the puppeteers are there - and if you don't it doesn't matter, because their expressions match the puppets' so well, they almost become one.

Avenue Q is smart, risqué, and extremely entertaining. It's probably not suitable for those who are politically correct or easily offended by swearing and (puppet) nudity, but everyone else will love it. We certainly did!

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

I saw... Music and Lyrics

Today I finally made it to the cinema for the first time since before Christmas. Yay!!! :-))))))))))))) I've been trying to get someone (anyone) to go with me, but there's always something that screws up our plans at the last minute, or we can't make our busy diaries match. Yoga classes, work, studying, husbands and lovers, or just plain lack of effort have sabotaged several attempts of organising cinema trips over the last month. So this morning, on my way to work, I thought - why not just go tonight? It's not like I had anything more important to do. As soon as I arrived at work (only 10 minutes late - the boss almost had a heart attack) I logged on to the cinema website, checked the performances and picked the one that was most convenient, the 18:15 Music and Lyrics, with Hugh Grant and Drew Barrymore. I've been wanting to see The Last King of Scotland but it was on too late. I'd have to go home first, and the chances of going out once I've returned home from work, especially if I'm not meeting anyone, are so slim as to be negligible. I figured I'd better play it safe with Music and Lyrics.

I was pleasantly surprised. I really liked it. Not that I've actually disliked any of Hugh Grant's other romantic comedies, but still. The sure sign of a good movie is when it finishes without me wondering how long it's got yet (I have a low boredom threshold). Well, tonight I didn't look at my watch once.

Drew Barrimore was quirky and very very sweet, Hugh Grant was super cool, if a bit creased in the face (has he not heard of Crème de la Mer? Or glycolic peels? I mean, really, he needs the help). From a distance, however, all you see is his totally fab body. There are lots of dance shots that are, like, phoarrrr!! and the singing's not bad either. In fact, the soundtrack's pretty impressive. I hadn't realised that Hugh Grant and Drew Barrymore did all their own singing in the film, but they did, and boy are they good! Some of the songs would make brilliant party tracks - Pop! Goes My Heart is totally catchy and Way Back Into Love is soooo sweet. The video clips will be a scream if they're released. They're ridiculously funny, in a cheesy 80's/Wham kind of way.

Music and Lyrics is a feel-good movie. Easy on the eye, pleasant to the ear, funny, heart-warming and entertaining. There are much worse ways to spend a couple of hours on a rainy Wednesday evening. If you're looking for a nice romantic movie this weekend, I recommend it wholeheartedly.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Happy Pancake Day!

Today I watched my first ever pancake race, which was organised by Better Bankside at Borough Market. I know some of you wanted to see pictures, so here they are:

The teams are practising their pancake flipping skills before the race.

The race is about to start - frying pans at the ready.

They're off!

The race was good fun, and attracted quite an audience. There was a fee to take part and the money went to charity, so it was all for a good cause.

Those of you who've not made preparations for tonight, there's still time to nip to the supermarket for supplies. Have fun!

Switched On London

HMS Belfast lit up for Switched On London

Last week, Loops and I went out after work to take photos around the Pool of London (the section between London Bridge and Tower Bridge) where the lighting festival organised by Switched On London was taking place.

For a while we followed Guerilla Lighting, who put up temporary lighting displays as part of the festival. Basically they're a group of people with lights, who shine them onto buildings, trees, walls etc. for a short period of time, to create an imaginative display. Then they move on to the next site and on and on. It was freezing cold but it was good fun. Loops discovered they have a website, where they've posted some photos from that night. If you look carefully, you can see us in 1 or 2 of them :-)

Monday, February 19, 2007

Kung Hei Fat Choi!

The year of the pig is officially here :-)

Thousands of Londoners gathered in Chinatown and Trafalgar Square to watch the parade and lion and dragon dancing, followed by fireworks in Leicester Square. The parade was good, but felt too short and rushed. It could be that we were in the wrong place - close to Trafalgar Square - whereas the parade finished at the other end of Chinatown. I'm guessing the performers were in a hurry to get to the end, so they could start coming back again towards the square for the main celebrations. I'm pretty sure this is the first time it's been like this - previously the parade started in Chinatown and finished near the square. Doing it the other way round was a bit of a silly idea, if you ask me. Chinatown was a chocker and could do without the lion dances at every corner causing gridlock after gridlock. I hope the Mayor's taking note!

Don't get me wrong, we enjoyed the parade, but it wasn't as lavish or as long as we'd expected and we were left feeling cheated. After it finished we hang around for a while, hoping there was more, but no luck. We then wandered over to Trafalgar Square to watch the opening ceremony. Various presidents, mayors, ambassadors and MPs spoke to a rather disinterested audience. Thankfully, their speeches were mostly short and sweet. Even so, we got bored and restless before any of the performances started, so we left Trafalgar Square in search of sustenance in Chinatown. Boy were we in good company! The world and his dog clearly had had the same brainwave as us at the exact same time. Actually, that's not fair on dogs, as we didn't actually see many (any?). What we saw is pushchairs, buggies and prams. Lots of pushchairs, buggies and prams. As if bodies alone (and lion dances every second corner) weren't enough.

At least we found a stall that could provide us with a decent meal of noodles, spring roll, satay chicken etc. for a modest £4 (6 € for those of you in euro-land). We didn't even have to queue, possibly because most of the people around at the time were taking photos of the nearest lion performance. Thank God for small mercies....

Once we'd finished eating, we pushed and shoved our way to Leicester Square in time for the 2 PM firework display. This wasn't the kind of firework display you get on Guy Fawkes, it was more like a display of VERY loud firecrackers. Suitably deafened, after the end of the display we split up. Some of us went home, others stayed on in town. I decided I couldn't face the crowds at Trafalgar Square again, and headed for Oxford Street instead. Once I'd cleared the mass of people stretching as far out as Piccadilly Circus, it became obvious this was the best idea I'd had all day. Oxford Street was practically empty. There was none of the usual congestion on the pavements, no queuing at the tills, no struggling to find a shop assistant to help you. With such auspicious conditions, it'd be wrong not to take full advantage of the opportunity for a little retail therapy. Let's say, ahem, that I did my bit for the economy ;-)

After all, the year of the pig is supposed to bring good fortune and prosperity. What's the point in waiting?

Sunday, February 18, 2007

The OC

I've just finished watching episode 9 of season 4 and I must say, I'm really enjoying this season.

I couldn't find a Taylor-Ryan picture, so I'll have to make do with a Summer-Seth one. Even so. I don't care what the devoted Marissa fans are saying, this is a good season and a huge improvement on the last two.

They even say frakk ;-)

Saturday, February 17, 2007

The year of the pig

In Chinese culture, 2007 is the year of the pig.

The Chinese lunar calendar follows five 12-year cycles. A different animal represents each of the 12 years. Chinese legend has it that Buddha invited all the animals of the Earth to visit him on New Year's Day, and when only 12 arrived, each was awarded a year of its own. It is now believed that those born during a certain animal's year have the qualities associated with that animal.

Which would make me a pig. Hmmm

According to information posted on Wikipedia (source of all knowledge on the internet) us pigs are usually honest, straightforward and patient. We are modest and shy and we prefer to work quietly behind the scenes. When others despair, we are often there to offer support. We are reserved with those we do not know too well, but as time passes and we gain confidence, those around us may discover a lively and warm-hearted person behind that mask of aloofness. Despite having a wide circle of friends and acquaintances, we have few close friends who understand us and share our inner thoughts and feelings. It is easy to put trust in us; we won't let you down and will never even attempt to do so. Pigs want to do everything right according to social norms.

There is a tolerant and peaceful side to our character. We are never afraid to allow others their freedom of expression; we do not seek to cause arguments and if there is any way to avoid arguing, we will probably take this option. We are not weak, however, and if the situation forces us to fight, we will rise to the occasion, whether it is to defend ourselves or those close to us. People of the Pig type are the most admired by others.

That's better :-)

Thursday, February 15, 2007

News, news, news

Cupid at work

According to People Management Online one in five employees has married a colleague, and a further 43 per cent admitted to dating someone in their office at least once during their careers.

If you want love, now you know where to look for it.

Thousands to police smoking ban

The BBC reports this morning that thousands of council workers are being trained to police the smoking ban in bars, restaurants and shops in England, when it comes into force on 1st July. They will have the power to enter premises undercover, allowing them to sit among drinkers, and will even be able to photograph and film people. One council official from up north (Liverpool? Nottingham? I wasn't paying attention) declared on BBC News: People must understand "that smoking is an outdoor activity".

Ha, ha, like a sport then, said hubby.
You're laughing now mate, but Big Brother's coming to get you.

*My* conclusion is that clearly council workers haven't got enough work to do. And that the world's gone crazy. What with schoolkids being fingerprinted so that their parents can get reports of how many packets of crisps they ate each week, and smokers being followed around by council workers in case they light up inside a pub (shock horror), I'm starting to seriously doubt the mental stability of policy makers in this country.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Love me do

When Rome was first founded it was surrounded by wilderness, and packs of wolves roamed over the countryside. Among their many gods, the Romans had one named Lupercus who watched over the shepherds and their flocks. In his honour they held a great feast in February of each year and called it the Lupercalia. On the calendar used back in those days, February came later than it does today, so Lupercalia was a spring festival. Some believe the festival honored Faunus, who like the Greek Pan, was a god of herds and crops, but the origin of Lupercalia is so ancient that we'll probably never know for sure.

Lupercalia was an important celebration. Each year, on 15th February, a number of rituals were performed, some of which involved youths of noble birth running through the streets with goatskin thongs (!!). Young women would crowd the street in the hope of being lashed with the sacred thongs (!!!) as it was believed to make them better able to bear children. The goatskin thongs were known as the februa and the lashing the februatio, both coming from a Latin word meaning to purify. The name of the month February comes from this meaning.

Long after Rome became a walled city and the seat of a powerful empire, the Lupercalia lived on. When Roman armies invaded France and Britain, they took the Lupercalia customs there. One of these is believed to be a lottery where the names of Roman maidens were placed in a box and drawn out by the young men. Each man accepted the girl whose name he drew as his love - for a year or longer. Pope Gelasius the First decided to change the lottery and have the names of both young men and girls put into the box and drawn out in pairs. Each couple exchanged gifts. The girl became the man's valentine for that year. On his sleeve he wore her name and it was his bounded duty to attend and protect her. This custom of drawing names took place on the 14th of February, the day on which St Valentine was celebrated, and was considered a good omen for love. It often foretold a wedding.

And so Valentine's Day was born - a lovers' day, a time for loving, for giving and receiving love tokens.

Hallmark took over much later, after British settlers had imported Valentine's Day into North America during the 19th century.

Many thanks go to Gigi whose blog gave me the idea (and some of the information) for this entry.

Bye bye Clippy

For me, the most frustrating thing about using MS Office is Clippy (I know, I know, I have a high frustration threshold). Clippy is the animated paperclip that's been Microsoft's way of providing users with (a little) assistance and (a lot of) annoyance ever since Office 97. On its tenth birthday this year, Microsoft has finally put Clippy out of his misery, leaving him out of Office 2007 (and Vista) altogether.

Apparently the goal wasn't so much to kill Clippy as to have a single way for users to find help, rather than including menus, toolbars, and an animated office assistant. Whatever it was, I'm just happy the irritating little twat's gone - hopefully for good.

RIP Clippy.

Thanks Zoe, for alerting me to this joyous news!

Battlestar Galactica news

SCI FI Channel announced yesterday that it's renewing its Peabody-winning series Battlestar Galactica for a fourth season, ordering at least 13 new episodes. Production will resume this summer, with an eye toward a January 2008 premiere. Yeah, yeah, yeah!!!


Tuesday, February 13, 2007

They're joking, right?

According to the BBC, more than half of all schoolchildren are in debt by the time they reach 17. Apparently, recent research shows that teenagers tend to think of overdrafts and credit cards as easy ways to spend more than they earn.

Bliming heck! I never knew Saturday jobs paid that well.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Baftas 2007: The Winners

And the winners are...

Best film: The Queen

Best British film: The Last King of Scotland

Best actor in a leading role: Forest Whitaker - The Last King of Scotland

Best actress in a leading role: Dame Helen Mirren - The Queen

Best actor in a supporting role: Alan Arkin - Little Miss Sunshine

Best actress in a supporting role: Jennifer Hudson - Dreamgirls

Original screenplay: Michael Arndt - Little Miss Sunshine

Adapted screenplay: Peter Morgan/Jeremy Brock - The Last King Of Scotland

The David Lean Award for achievement in direction: Paul Greengrass - United 93

Animated feature film: Happy Feet

The Carl Foreman Award for special achievement by a British director/producer or writer in their first feature film: Andrea Arnold - director (for Red Road)

Best film not in the English language: Pan's Labyrinth (El Laberinto del Fauno)

The Anthony Asquith Award for achievement in film music: Gustavo Santaolalla - Babel

Cinematography: Children of Men

Editing: United 93

Production design: Children of Men

Costume design: Pan's Labyrinth

Sound: Casino Royale

Achievement in special visual effects: Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest

Make up and hair: Pan's Labyrinth

Short animation film: Guy 101

Short Film: Do Not Erase

Loops, we really must see The Last King Of Scotland before the Oscars!

Happiness is...

...lying in bed with a good book and a box of jellybeans (the one with the 25 different varieties). Toasted marshmallow ones are the best.

Back from Twickenham

As expected, it was wicked!

The men's match was early on in the day and we even got some sun. I didn't need my hat at all, although my cashmere scarf came handy.

The women's one started at 4:15 PM when the sun had gone in and the rain had come out. By the time it finished we were thoroughly frozen, despite wearing everything we had with us - hats, gloves, scarves, fleeces and pashminas.

Both England teams won, but the men struggled a bit, i.e. more than you'd expect from a team that's facing Ireland in two weeks' time. Ho hum.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Swing low, sweet chariot (live)

Today, we're going to Twickenham :-) We've got tickets to watch England v Italy "followed by Women's 6 Nations". It's cold, wet and miserable, just the kind of day alcohol was invented for. Shame I'm not much of a drinker.

I can't whinge too much, coz my considerate friend Loops has already offered to take my ticket off my hands and spare me the ordeal (in your dreams Loops!).

So, for the plus points, it looks like we've got good seats in the middle tier. All I'm worried about is whether there's cover from the rain, as I have no rainproof gear. As a true city girl, I have no need for a raincoat in normal circumstances. Last time we went to Twickenham was in November 2004. We watched England v South Africa. It was also cold and wet, but we were in the top tier - we needed binoculars to see the players, but at least we were dry.

I'm not too concerned about the cold coz I've learned my lesson. Every coldproof item of clothing I own - thermal underwear, cashmere jumpers, "bodysensor" tights, scarves, gloves, hats, fleeces and coats will be considered when I dress this morning. I'm thinking of taking a small blanket with me. After last time, I'm leaving nothing to chance.

I'm even taking the leftover chocolates from last night's get-together with me. I have no shame. They're individually wrapped, so they'll be perfect. I'll take some mixed nuts and a couple of nutri-bars too. I'm going to be like these old lady travellers who carry their snacks with them in poly-bags, but I don't care. We may go for a fry up at some point. Anything with lots of calories is bound to help keep warm/soak up the alcohol.

Vindaloo, Vindaloo and we all like vindaloo
We're England
We're gonna score one more than you
Go England!

Oops! Wrong anthem :-o

Friday, February 09, 2007

It's almost the weekend...

...and not a moment too soon!

I've had a hectic, hectic week. At times today I've felt like screaming (not good). I ended up leaving work early (i.e. on time - good) and brought work home with me (again - not good). I've been to the supermarket, which was heaving with people shopping for the weekend so I had to queue for ages at the checkout (not good) but the taxi I ordered to take me & my shopping home arrived within minutes (very good) and what's more, the taxi driver carried all my bags through to the hallway so that they wouldn't get muddy by the front door (very very good).

My friends Loops and Jasmin who I've not seen for ages are coming round tonight for dinner, drinks and The Devil Wears Prada (excellent). I've already put three bottles of wine in the fridge: our favourite White Zinfandel, an Italian Verdicchio and a German Liebfraumilch. I've got a selection of tapenades for starters and some lovely meringues from Konditor & Cook which I'll make a dessert with. All we have to do is decide where to order the main course from.

We'll eat, chat, chill out and drink wine. We may even watch the movie. What better way to spend a Friday evening?

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow (again!)

I've been up since 7:00 AM this morning although I didn't have to, purely because I was too excited to sleep while there was snow out there! I love snow, and to get it twice in the space of a few weeks is a real treat. Particularly as this time round there was still plenty left at the end of the day.

Despite the low temps, this poor snowman was already melting by mid afternoon. My friend Pam saw him a couple of hours after me and said he'd lost his cone. I expect by now he's a puddle of ice :-(

Bye bye Mr Snowman! You won't be forgotten.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

London dates for your diaries

So you thought there wasn't much happening at the moment? Think again. Here are my recommendations for 3 fun events taking place over the next couple of weeks.

If you're in London, take out your diaries, filofaxes or PDAs and start making plans! If you're visiting London over the next fortnight, you'll be pleased to know that all of these events take place outdoors, at or near places of interest, and none of them require prior reservations.

If you're not in London, perhaps this post will inspire you to look for interesting "happenings" close to where you live.

Switched On London
Pool of London
8-16 February 2007

Switched On London is a lighting festival that takes place in the Pool of London (the area between London Bridge and Tower Bridge) on 8-16 February. A number of sites, incl. HMS Belfast, City Hall and the Tower of London, will be temporarily lit in an imaginative way by some of the best lighting designers and manufacturers in the UK.

This project aims to challenge the perception that exterior lighting always leads to wasted energy and light pollution. The last night of Switched On London will coincide with the first ever late night opening of the Design Museum which will feature a special lighting display.

Chinese New Year festival and parade
Central London
Sunday 18 February 2007

The Chinese New Year celebrations consist of a colourful parade that sets off along the Strand at 11am, followed by traditional dragon and lion dances, plus music, martial arts and song performances in Trafalgar Square from midday onwards. Over 150 artists from China take part in this annual celebration and the result really is spectacular.

Look out for firework displays in stall-covered Leicester Square (at 2pm and 5pm), impromptu parties in Soho and food stalls along Gerrard Street and throughout Chinatown. This event is one of the most popular in London, so aim to arrive early and don't forget your camera. You can then send your photos to the BBC to publish on their website.

Pancake Race
Borough Market
Tuesday 20 February 2007

Better Bankside is organising a traditional Shrove Tuesday pancake race in aid of charity at 12:30 pm. Businesses are forming teams to run along Borough Market's Bedale Street tossing pancakes.

There will be pancakes on sale for spectators. Need I say more?

February is the last winter month and the official period of hybernation (and slaving away to pay the credit card bills) is almost over. Spring is round the corner, the days are getting longer, the weather's milder (fingers crossed), so get together with your friends, go out and have fun!

I'm hoping to make it to all three events and I've been emailing friends, some of whom I've not seen since Christmas, to make arrangments. If you know of any other fun events taking place in and around London, tell us about it! If there's anything exciting happening in your part of the world, share it with us by posting a comment or a link to your blog (or both).

Monday, February 05, 2007

Guess what this is...

Picking up the computer theme... this is the 305 RAMAC (Random Access Memory Accounting System), the world's first hard drive that was introduced by IBM in September 1956. At the time, the hard drive/processor/power supply unit etc. took over a whole room of about 9m (30') by 15m (50'). And there I was thinking my father-in-law had been telling porkies when he said he'd entered a computer!

It may look nothing like a Mac Mini, but this computer was a revolution since it could store up to 4.4MB of data (5 million characters) - an enormous amount of data back then. The data was stored on fifty 24 inch magnetical disks. The entire RAMAC unit weighed over a ton and had to be move around with forklifts and delivered via large cargo airplanes. More than 1000 systems were built and the production ended in 1961. IBM leased the computers for $3,200 per month.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Swing low, sweet chariot

I'm reliably informed by hubby, who's been watching in the pub, that today's Six Nations game was the best England performance of the last two years. About time too, I say.

He's also claiming that Wilko is god, but I wouldn't read too much into that, as he's pretty plastered (that's hubby, not Wilko, although come to think of it, Wilko's probably plastered too by now).

Why food is better than sex

1. You can try a new recipe without being unfaithful to your present cookbook. (Delia fans may beg to differ).
2. Vegetables, unlike men, never complain about washing.
3. You sometimes get a "thank you" after cooking a meal.
4. Letting the milk boil over won't get you pregnant.
5. Men are used to giving microwave ovens a few seconds to warm up.
6. A cucumber never feels inadequate when it sees a man.
7. Most men can manage to eat three times a day - or more.
8. A meal can last longer than 12 minutes - and you never have to fake it.
9. After a good meal you can make love, but after sex all you get is a cigarette.
10. Food is fattening - sex isn't. (There had to be a reason why sex is still popular!)

OK, I don't really believe that food is better than sex, but it *is* pretty damn close. Plus I'm hungry at the moment, so more interested in food than sex. I've just rung our local Indian and ordered us a full Indian meal: popadums & pickles, onion bhajis, chana puri, chicken biryani and vegetable curry.

I'll go back on the diet tomorrow.

In case you're wondering...

...this is what the Apple Mac Mini looks like.

(it's the little square box to the left of the keyboard)

Then and now

1981 IBM launches its first personal computer, the 5150. It doesn't have a hard disk and its 4.77MHz processor is about a thousand times slower than a present-day PC. Its 13 cm floppy disks' capacity is so small, that even if digital music existed, you wouldn't be able to save even one track to a disk. The CPU weighs almost 13 kilos.

2007 The Apple Mac Mini is just 16 cm square and 5 cm high. Its 80GB hard disk is about 84 thousand times the capacity of the IBM 5150's floppy disks. The Mini weighs 1.4 kilos.

I won't bore you with facts about my Video iPod ;-)

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Online shopping

Back in 1996-97, when the internet had started gaining in popularity, and online shopping became reality for the first time, I remember saying to friends: "buying stuff online? with a credit card? they think this will take off? are they kidding?!" tut tut tut

At the time, I thought that only geeks and extremely reckless people would ever consider handing over their credit card details online in exchange for the promise of having goods delivered to their doors. How wrong can you be?

Fast forward 10 years, and I'm happily clicking away for books, cds, rental dvds, clothes, shoes, presents, electrical items, grocery and more. These days I'm probably doing half of my shopping online, occasionally even more than that - last Christmas I did ALL my shopping from the comfort of my office chair. What bliss, not having to battle with the crowds in Oxford Street!

I wish doing my shopping online also meant I was less tempted by things I did not need, and thus saved a fortune, but judging by my latest credit card bill, it doesn't quite work like that. Still... at least I saved on the bus and tube fares ;-)

In case you're looking for inspiration, these are some of my favourite shopping websites:

Books, CDs and DVDs (Greek books)

Rental DVDs

Electrical items


Groceries (expensive, but they include freebies)


Cosmetics & other smellies (luuuurvely stuff for girlies)

Arts and crafts

Presents (babies and christening) (ditto) (quirky ones)

Kitchenware/household stuff (outstanding customer service)

Chocolate (oh yes!) and cakes



Happy clicking!