The other day I finally got around to watching the first episode of Britain From Above. The episode talked about the various networks that keep Britain working: water, sewage, electricity, gas, road, shipping, trains, telecommunications and so on.
One segment was about the railway system during the rush hour (might only be viewable by those in the UK). The description runs:
Transport expert Jon Shaw reveals that every morning as millions of people start their long commute to work they are using a system which is so overloaded it is on the brink of disaster.
Roughly ten years ago, I was attending KAW’98. I remember that conference as one of the best weeks of my life. I had great company. I saw scenery like I’d never seen before. I presented my PhD work for the first time to people who were (at least politely) interested in it. And I learned a lot, both from the presentations and less formal discussions.
(I remember driving back to Nottingham when we returned; a rainbow appeared in front of us, seeming to arch over our destination in a perfect finale.)
Looking back at that paper is like looking at my past generally is: much of it makes me cringe, but parts of it are surprisingly good. What’s interesting is that if you swap a few terms for modern buzzwords, it’s still a pretty neat idea. It’s also amazing how far we’ve come — how much has become common-place — in just ten years.
When I was young, my dad taught me a way of making tough decisions. You get a sheet of paper, make one column for each of the possibilities, and list pros and cons. The one that ends up with the most (important) pros and least (important) cons is the one that you should choose. My dad is a TJ-type.
My mum also taught me a way of making tough decisions. Her way was to toss a coin. But the point was not to just toss the coin, but to see how you feel when it landed. If you’re pleased, go with it. If you’re disappointed, ignore it and go with the other choice. My mum is a FJ-type.
When my dad introduced me to his internet radios, I thought, “wow, there’s something for everyone!” So I went looking for something for me. And yesterday I found it: Kink ClassX. It plays “alternative” music from the 60s to the present day. I listened to Bowie, Marilyn Manson, Arethra Franklin, Squeeze, Souxie, Otis Redding, the White Stripes: a really diverse set of music, with one thing in common — All Good.
OK, so you have to sit through german-language new bulletins every hour on the hour, but to me that just adds to the charm.
Update: The Ogbujis have also set up a charitable fund called The Kingdom Kids to “help provide families with information and support to help protect other young children from the hazards of house fires.”
Some of you will already know that Chimezie Ogbuji (Uche’s brother) lost two of his daughters (aged 6 and 2) at a fire in his house over the weekend. I gather that his third daughter (aged 14 months) has now also died.
A more devastating loss is hard to conceive, especially for those of us with small children of our own. There are two addresses for donations, to help with funeral expenses and to help Chime and his wife Roschelle to eventually rebuild their home and their lives:
Ogbuji Family Fund, c/o Dr Linus Ogbuji, 2737 Green Road, Shaker Heights OH 44122
The Sussex Association–Ogbuji Family Fund, c/o Mrs. Margaret Dobbins, 3632 Rawnsdale Road, Shaker Heights, OH 44122
There are times I wish I believed in God, and could offer prayers. Blogging just isn’t the same.
I left feeling not only invigorated and inspired, but also a part of a fun and friendly community.
I learnt two new life-skills today.
First, how to tie my shoelaces using the Ian Knot. It’s very quick, and works just as well with anything with loops, such as supermarket or nappy bags.
Second, how to make playdoh. A standard recipe all over the web is: