26 February, 2010

Finks Links #85

Link time (wow, look at that - two weeks in a row)!!

Ooo...a Millennium Falcon toy that really flies... ;) [pic]

Fifty Dangerous Things (You Should Let Your Children Do)... [book review]

Firefly project (scroll to the bottom of the page) - what an incredible concept...!

A rather long-winded way to open the curtains (home-brew "incredible" machine - video)...

Glow-in-the-dark loo roll (for nocturnal toilet trips)...

Inside the home of a serial killer... [pics]

A bit like finding out there's no Father Christmas... [pic]

...and finally an excellent Dad Win...

More at some undisclosed future date...! :)

25 February, 2010

Xbox Fixed!

Wowie! My Xbox only set off to Frankfurt (to Xbox hospital) at lunchtime on Monday and it's already on it's way back, all better (and with an extended warranty for bonus points)!!

Can't wait! :D

(UPS tracking page - Excited tapping of F5, F5, F5, F5, F5, F5, F5, F5, F5 etc.) ;)

Update on the "V2" at London Bridge

Update on this post...

From Elwyn at the London Dungeon -

"Hi Fink,

It’s nothing to do with us I’m afraid. I think it’s a V2 rocket from the Second World War put there by the Britain at War Museum.

Hope this helps!

Kind regards,


- thank you Elwyn (and thanks to Matt from London who provided the same suggestion on the Flickr page), but I think we already know it isn't actually a V2 rocket...on to the Britain at War Experience "contact us" page next then! ;)

24 February, 2010

Seabulk shipping and Evil Ushenko

Well, that's me sorted if I ever need to move anything large around in South East Asia! The Vice General Manager of Seabulk Shipping (Shanghai), Mr Thomas Wang, has very kindly emailed me a full schedule of the movements of all their vessels with the cheery (capitalised) advice to "NOT HESITATE CONTACT WE WHEN YOU HAS SUITABLE CARGOES!"...Mr Wang, I promise I'll keep you in mind...

...oh and while I'm at it - Mr Furmuzaki Vadim Valerievich? I've got it...you invented a circuit board that was stolen from you by Viktor Ushenko which he used in order to shape-shift his way to the position of President of the Ukraine and he now torments you by making your DVD player work without discs being inserted. You do not need to email me every day to remind me...really...you were both loud and clear the first time(s)...

(I've hit the top limit on my block list on Lotus Notes, in case you haven't already guessed)... :(

23 February, 2010

V2 Rocket or Atlas Booster - Platform 1 London Bridge

V2 Rocket London Bridge
Most odd...spotted this the other day on Platform One at London Bridge...at first glance, one would have thought one would be quite safe assuming that it is a memorial to those who lost their lives to Nazi V2 Rocket attacks during World War 2, however something isn't quite right in this picture...

It was googling around for some sort of explanation, discovering in the process that Tooley Street - above which it is suspended - suffered a few V1 attacks and Borough High Street (which is just around the corner) had a very nasty V2 incident (killing 35 people) which should have satisfied my curiosity, that I spotted this (very similar picture) on a contact of mine's Flickr stream, where (I discovered) that it, of course, looks absolutely nothing like a real V2 rocket (and thanks to Tommo for pointing out exactly the same thing)... ;)

It is actually a scale model of a NASA Atlas Booster, which (of course) dates it from somewhere during the cold war, likely after 1968...so what was someone doing between the late 60's (or early 70's) and now sticking a painted scale model of an Atlas Booster on the wall opposite Platform 1 at London Bridge station? It's not tatty either (and this is central London we are talking about here), the thing looks freshly painted (and shiny) and the union flag you can see fluttering to it's left is in equally good condition, which means someone has definitely been maintaining it in (however long) the meantime (was)...

Anyone have the faintest idea? Is it anything to do with the London Dungeon perhaps, or does some of my train fare or tax go towards it's (historically inaccurate) upkeep? I've emailed Elwyn Owen at the London Dungeon to see if it's anything to do with them, I'll let you know if they are kind enough to reply... ;)

22 February, 2010

All change - Thomas at (almost) seven months

Thomas sitting up
It's funny, because I know every single day *something* about Thomas is evolving, but this weekend I really did notice a lot of new things...this is probably largely because Thomas and Flyingpops had just returned from a lovely holiday visiting friends in Devon and Cornwall (hello all - wish I had been there too!)...they enjoyed four nights on holiday in all, during which time (while I wasn't either commuting or working) I stared at the hole where my Xbox used to be, fell asleep on the sofa watching the Winter Olympics (which was fun in it's own way), and lapsed slightly into batchelordom so when Mummy and Thomas came home there was quite a lot of catching up to do (some of which involved slightly naughty amounts of dirty clothes and dishes)... ;)

Anyway (ahem), Thomas...The first, and least impressive thing that Thomas has learned, is how to blow raspberries. He now spends at least 50% of his waking time with his tongue sticking out, the final 50% being only because there is something else stuck in the way...the response to having his nappy changed is to blow a raspberry, the response to having his toes tickled is to smile and blow a raspberry, the response to "How are you this morning Thomas?" is to sleepily blow a raspberry, the (messy) response to a nice warm spoonful of mashed carrot and swede is to blow a raspberry (prompting an autonomic startle response from Mummy or Daddy followed by a several minutes work with a damp flannel)...but it's not all bad...he can also now (all of a sudden) sit on his own for quite long periods, although he did manage to topple over once yesterday and cried and pouted for a while with the shock of it all (I know it wasn't pain, as he was on his soft play floor mat at the time)...

The most impressive thing of all (although Flyingpops came up with an annoyingly simple explaination) is that he is now happy spending short periods of time playing with his toys even when he can't set eyes on either Flyingpops or I...This is a revelation...not since he was born (apart from at Family parties where there are plenty of sets of willing arms) have we both been able to leave him to himself while I, say, peel some vegetables and Flyingpops loads the dishwasher (for example)...I mean, I'm not talking about us both going out for a meal abandoning him, but the relief of just being free to walk out of line of sight without a lonely wail is staggeringly liberating...Flyingpops clever explaination (by the way) is that he was simply pleased to see all his toys again after his holiday (rather than being a bit bored with them)...but I'm sticking with my diagnosis, he's just being a very good little boy... ;)

19 February, 2010

Finks Links #84

Well we haven't done this for a while, but somehow I've cobbled together enough to do a reasonable approximation of link time!

Unseen (until now) betamax video of the Challenger disaster (1986)...

A mosquito having it's wings clipped by an automatic laser targeting device...

Torch which transforms into a submachine gun...

Sticking with the theme, an over-the-top concealed weapon wind-up...

Check out Microsoft's profit, by division (not making a huge amount out of the Xbox then)...!

GPS Ski goggles...

Watch Squid cam, watch an attempt to rear a deep sea giant squid in captivity (disclaimer - they are actually still quite small at the moment)... ;)

...and finally a sign fail...

More at some undisclosed future date...! :)

18 February, 2010

Crossrail Canary Wharf - What's going on

Crossrail sign - What's going on
Aw, that's nice...Canary Wharf Contractors have put up a series of signs (making me think they must have got sick of all the inane questions) explaining "What's going on"...
Crossrail sign - Station construction
...what the final building will look like...
Crossrail sign - Silent Piling
...and the surprisingly noisy process (even from 20 floors up) of "Silent Piling"...

16 February, 2010

Dontevenreply ;)

Just had to share this...I haven't (almost) cried with laughter in such a long time... ;)

Basically, this is an archive site of what appears to be the work of one wind-up merchant who baits unsuspecting folk who have posted classified ads (requiring or offering needs or services, or the odd item for sale)...of course it's all just for fun, but the imagination involved, and the amount of time that some of the victims go without realising they are being wound up (and...ahem...not even replying) is frankly staggering (and hilarious)...some of it is a bit lazy (and even misogynistic in places) so not quite 419eater, but there are some diamonds in there... ;)

A couple that made me chortle are here and here... ;)

15 February, 2010

Xbox 360 Red Ring of Death

Xbox 360 Red Ring of Death :(
Wah... :(

It's been happening for a while now, slump down onto my bean bag and poke the power button anticipating a nice bit of batarang action around Gotham City or perhaps throwing a few chain lightning bolts around Stonehelm and instead of the boot up routine three of the little lights around the power button flash annoyingly at me in a dismal red...I tut and hit it twice again to turn it off and back on and after a heartbeat the greens merrily cycle and the Xbox starts up normally (happy mayhem and evil cackling then commencing)...but Saturday last saw the end of my goon bashing and the suspension of my channeling the awesome power of mother nature...after at least twenty attempts, my pout getting bigger and bigger as my crest fell I was finally forced to accept that my Xbox had finally and fatally succombed to the infamous "Red Ring of Death"...

After an uncomfortable half an hour (trying to keep Thomas happy while) struggling to remember what ancient email account I twinned to my gamertag (and what the password was), I finally managed to register my xbox (about 4 years late), and wincing as I submitted my repair request (on a screen showing in a familiar red colour the words "Warranty Expired") to Microsoft in anticipation of a large bill...What popped up on the receipt page was both a shock and a very pleasant surprise - the amount they were going to charge me for the repair was (*gasp*) 0.00 GBP.

From there on, things only continued to improve (yes, odd I know, considering this post is about a broken gaming console) the email that arrived shortly afterwards told me to box up the Xbox not in it's original packaging (for some reason probably to do with dishonest appropriation with the intent to permanently deprive the original owner) slap on a return label (also sent on an email) and call UPS to arrange for (wait for it) FREE SHIPPING to the Xbox hospital for poorly consoles (which is in Frankfurt, just in case you were wondering)!

It turns out that Microsoft has taken this issue so seriously that in 2006 they put aside One Beeeeeeeeelion Dollars to combat the problem (or just enough for either $100 worth of shipping and repairs for every single Xbox 360 ever made, or to completely replace 1 in 3)...

Cherry on the top? My next door neighbour is going to stay with his Gran for half term and she has a Wii, so he's not using his Xbox... ;)

11 February, 2010

"Rolling along, on our way"...

Thomas Driving ;)
Oh dear, this really is telling...I was sat here at my desk, minding my own business, just plugging away at the mountain of email in our group mailbox when suddenly I realised that not only had I been (in an absent-minded way) humming the tune that Thomas' Whinnie the Pooh Sort and Learn Cart plays at start-up, I had actually been singing (out loud) the lyrics...and not only singing them, but doing a (poor) approximation of Jim Cumming's Whinnie the Pooh voice (complete with little laugh)...

Oh dear (again)...thankfully nobody seemed to notice... ;)

10 February, 2010

Sick of Snow

Sick of snow
Damn it....I am officially, properly sick of snow...sure, it's all fun and games to start with, running giggling through that fresh, crisp winter wonderland (and perhaps I am officially being "old" about it), but I've just had enough now...enough of being freezing cold (especially as I can't find my gloves), enough of slippery conditions, enough of trains and buses being delayed and cancelled at the first glimpse of a flake...

Just Enough...!

As I write this, it's snowing outside and people who don't have to be in an office are zooming around on the ice rink below the tower (probably laughing and blinking snowflakes from their eyelashes), but I'm just grinding my teeth and willing it (and the gloomy forecast for tomorrow and Friday) to please go away and come again another day (preferably next year)... ;)

08 February, 2010

The clock is ticking...

Can't believe how exciting this is, must have checked my mobile about 20 times already this morning waiting for news...!

It's only been six months since Thomas' birth, and here we are already expecting another member of the family - any time now, Thomas' new cousin will officially take up their position as youngest, good luck Timmy and Gayle! We can't wait to meet the new addition (and have it driven home how much Thomas has grown since we all went through this rite of passage such a short time ago, no doubt)!

05 February, 2010

VDU Mirror

Had a minor desk move about two weeks ago, big plus point? I now have a practically uninterrupted view of the London skyline directly ahead of me (instead of having to glance to the side)...the minus point? My back now faces the route most people walk if they want to come and see me, so people can sneak up on me...luckily, in my understairs cupboard I had a solution I could dust off and stick to my VDU...

Welcome back to my trusty C.H.I.M.P. (or handy-dandy office workstation rear view mirror)... ;)

04 February, 2010

Happy 6 Month Birthday Thomas

I'm sat here (Wed evening) feeling a little emotional and after this post, I'm hoping it will all become clear in my head!

6 months ago I came home from work on the 16.30 having typed my handover notes and feeling smug that I had 2 more days in the office before a month of lazing around in the sun on maternity leave for 5 weeks. I had back ache, felt like the commute was getting harder, occasional tummy pains, but with 2 more days to go there was no way I wasn't going to finish the week. With an important meeting at The Wharf looming, I went to bed at 8.30pm in the spare room so Fink could also get some rest!

At 4am, life was thrown into chaos. Thomas decided he wanted to come into the world at 12.53 (or MJ as he was known then!). I was totally shell shocked to say the least, but somehow with the help of a very loving husband, fantastic family (especially my mum) and lots of good friends, we muddled through and I'm now thinking, what an incredible journey we've started and how amazing it feels to be a mummy. Thomas is simply adorable... he has the best smile, cute giggle and little arms and legs that get thrown everywhere when he is excited (or in a mood!). We went to London on Monday, just to say Hi to work colleagues and London seemed so busy, solitary and materialistic. Back home, life is slower, with lots of friends (or even strangers taking an interest in Thomas) and the small things like a smile after a feed, or little cuddle mean so much more than a designer handbag, or outfit! We're so proud of how well Daddy does every day commuting, as I'm definitely out of practice and for the time being anyway, I'm just loving being a mum.

Happy 6 month Birthday Thomas..

03 February, 2010

Baby Led Weaning - an update

Thomas Dinner Time
So apart from normal feeding (i.e. milk and the pureed steamed or poached stuff we make up in batches at the weekend), we've also (as we said we would) tried Thomas out on a selection of finger foods -
Baby Led Weaning
- with various degrees of success (and mess) -
Baby Led Weaning
- the only real problem being, while he is now *excellent* at reaching out and grabbing objects (and then maneuvering them into his mouth/eye with the speed of a world class tennis player serving an ace), he isn't terribly good at actually hanging on to them for very long, meaning protracted sessions of food retrieval and dusting off (if one has the patience) and the occasional "Oh well done Thomas!" only to find the food a few hours later where it ended up under the sofa...Anyway, it's working, he's managing to eat stuff all by his clever little self, but we're not going to rely on it entirely, he's now having 3 meals a day served pureed and spooned (and doing an excellent impression of a baby bird as each spoonful comes into view)...very cute... ;)
Thomas Dinner Time

02 February, 2010

Sneaky Way to Canary Wharf

London Bridge Station Concourse #1
Well, that was an interesting experiment anyway, I decided to try out my new, super sneaky, alternative means of getting into the office this morning...no particular reason other than getting into London bridge perfectly on time (for once) so I knew I had plenty of leeway if things didn't go according to plan... ;)

It's quite simply a reverse of my lucky escape last week when the Jubilee Line was closed (for some reason), for the dry run (no idea how many other people use this route when things are bad) it was actually an extremely pleasant change...The train to Greenwich from Platform 1 was completely empty, getting to the DLR (which involved actually leaving the station and walking through an underpass from that platform) did involve quite a few steps, but certainly not the end of the world (and there is even a disablist slope for difficult knee days and lifts to the platform - very civilised)...

The DLR train (to Bank) came in pretty busy, but there was certainly no question of not being able to get on (unlike the Jubilee Line most mornings), and it's progression was punctuated by a lot more bumps and sharp jerks (if you can believe that), but just not having to venture underground was a total delight, and £10 cheaper a day than getting the boat, plus the bonus of being delivered straight into reception at One Canada Square...took about ten minutes longer than usual, but certainly another (very welcome) option...