September 21, 2002
Precious Time

Tried to do some urgent work from home today. Ended up staring at the screen for over 2 hours. Complete mental block. Complete waste of time. Took the kids out for the rest of the day. Felt like rediscovery. Made me realise what the wasted time was worth.

Alas - precious time.

Big Yellow Taxi

Don’t it always seem to go
That you don’t know what you’ve got
Till it’s gone
by Joni Mitchell.

Posted by jag at 03:10 PM | Comments (6)
September 20, 2002
Prefab buses and chillies

Oh my, oh my, have you seen the weather?
The sweet September rain.
Rain on me like no other.
Until I drown, until I drown
from a song by a UK band called Prefab Sprout.

I had the above song on my brain tonight. Why? Well - it all started on my journey home from the office. The first leg of my journey home is Westbound Piccadilly from Hammersmith to Alperton. I then get the route 79 bus from Alperton to home. It was at Alperton that I happened across every bus-travelling-commuters dilemma:

do you think I’ve got enough time to just pop over to those shops to get some quick groceries before my bus arrives? Or should I wait here because it’ll arrive any minute now?

What I needed was fresh green chillies. There is an Asian grocer (now becoming a rare species) around 200 metres away from the bus stop - and occasionally I chance it if I ever need something on the way home. Tonight it was fresh green chillies. And tonight I didn’t feel like risking it. I was just convinced that the bus would be here “any minute now”. Of course - that didn’t happen. Yep - I ended up waiting there for over half an hour before the 79 came. (Why is it that the 83 bus comes almost every 30 seconds - and often in threes - and the 79 bus doesn’t?)

Anyway - the connection to the song was a string of coincidences and mind-flashing imagery. It seemed to happen all of a sudden - within a few seconds - during an inspiring moment of an uninspiring long wait at the bus stop. It went something like this:

  • I need chillies. And chillies originated in Mexico.
  • In Mexico - buses don’t arrive in threes.
  • There is a state of the USA called New Mexico.
  • I remembered that I had been to New Mexico in 1987 (part of my epic driving journey around the USA) and specifically: I got a recall of a hot sunny morning driving down a desert highway towards the New Mexico city of Alburquerque.
  • There was a song from around that year which had an anthemic chorus line which went something like “Hot Dog, Jumping Frog, Albu-queruque” - and it was by a band called Prefab Sprout.
  • Tonight it felt like it was going to rain as I stood at the bus stop - and Prefab Sprout also had another famous-ish song about September rains.

And that was it. That’s how I got that song on my brain tonight. Strange isn’t it?

Anyway - the rest of my Friday-night journey home was uneventful. But I did remind myself to dig out that Prefab album from my decaying eighties cassette collection sometime …

Chillies like they sell them in Sante Fe New Mexico

Chillies in Santa Fe Market

Posted by jag at 10:51 PM | Comments (0)
September 11, 2002
911 by Tivo

September 11. The day that changed the world. And I was able to catch up with a year’s worth of it tonight thanks to my trusty ol’ Tivo - the gadget that has truly changed my life. Now - there seems to be an entire parallel universe of people like me - it’s called the Tivo Community - and there are millions of us - a global, multi-faith congregation of individuals whose lives have been changed forever by Tivo. The strange thing is that there appears to be nobody else in my office who has got one. I suspect that I have probably bored my colleagues to death going on about how good Tivo is and how it changes your life and all that, yeah, yeah, yeah - but I can honestly say that this gadget is probably the best lifestyle-changing gadget since the mobile phone. And it’s not because of the “pause live TV” feature either. There are so many things about it that make this one of the best 200 pounds that I ever spent - there just isn’t enough space here to write about it. But the remote control for it is by far the best remote control of anything I’ve ever seen - a genius in design!

Which has just reminded me - my all-time-best 200 pounds ever spent was on replacing the lead water main pipe with a plastic one. The change to my lifestyle was dramatic! Just seeing and feeling the pounding jet of water coming out of the cold tap on the kitchen sink is thrilling. Being able to fill up a tall glass of water in 2 seconds - and having to do it ever-so-c a r e f u l l y so that the turbulence doesn’t create a vortex that floods the rest of the kitchen - this is always an exciting moment! Being able to take a shower without having to negotiate a suitable time with the rest of the family and no longer having to remind them not to open any other taps in the house - or not to flush the water etc. is just so liberating! But most exhilerating of all is the shower. That 200 pounds has turned the shower into one that rivals even the best of the ones that you get in American hotels. And finally - the removal of lead from the system has probably made me less prone to going mad.

Ground Control to Major Tom
Your circuit’s dead, there’s something wrong…
from a song by David Bowie.

Posted by jag at 09:41 PM | Comments (0)
September 10, 2002
Silence ... then Slough


Spent the day in Slough today. What a mind-numbingly boring place this is. Not the office - no - there are usually some interesting people in the office - it’s outside that I’m referring to. And it’s not that there aren’t any interesting people outside the office either - it’s the fact that there just aren’t any! That’s right - nobody. Nope - not a single soul. It’s as if Slough is just one gigantic car park - the only people you see outside the office are the people who are hurriedly walking to and from an office reception to a car. This is a far cry from Hammersmith. At least in Ham there are crowds of people crossing the road - or walking to and from the tube station - or queuing at the sandwich bar. At least there’s the man who speaks all day into his loudhailer about how the world is full of sinners and we should all repent (it’s funny how he only seems to come out when there is some sort of moral war going on). And then there are the bums who hang around outside the Broadway Shoppping Centre who are always looking for a “spare” cigarrate or “spare” change. (Surely they mean “could you spare a cigarette or spare some change”??). And then there’s the Broadway Shopping Centre security guards and cleaners who walk around all day trying to look busy.

Nope. There’s no such people in Slough. It’s just completely devoid of any human activity outside of those shiny revolving doors. I know so - at lunch time I walked all the way from the office to the petrol station on the corner of a major junction with the town-centre and the M4 motorway - singing Eminem’s “without me” rap song out loud - and there was nobody to hear me - nobody to think that I was some kind of wierdo. Zip. Not a single soul. It was disgustingly quiet - obscenely quiet …

everybody only wants to discuss me
So this must mean I’m dis-gus-ting
But it’s just me, I’m just obscene

Part of an Eminem rap-song that I always remember.

Eminem - a white rapper

Posted by jag at 08:26 PM | Comments (20)

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