Showing posts from November, 2008

For vs. After

One of the things which irks me the most when reading articles online is the Americanism "named for". For anyone reading this who thinks that "named for" is correct British English - it's not - correct British English is "named after". To my mind "named for" means something else. "Bob couldn't think of what to call his pet hamster, so thanks to his daughter, it was named for him" To me (British) there's no way of telling what the hamster was called from that sentence - but to an American (or to a British person who's got it wrong) the hamster would be called "Bob". Even worse that this is the, slightly rarer, turn of phrase "anagram for". I don't even think this one is correct US English - I think it should be "anagram of" wherever you are. Anyway, rant over for tonight :-)

Snow? Call that snow?

It snowed yesterday – in case you didn’t notice. Well it did in London anyway; I woke up and looked out of the window to find the garden covered in snow. The first time I saw substantial quantities of snow was in Stockholm, quite a few years ago. When I was growing up as a kid there was the odd flurry - even enough to build a snowman once or twice during my childhood – but real deep snow is something I first saw in Stockholm one February day. For those who’ve never been, the weather in Stockholm is beautiful at various points throughout the year. The summer is amazing, and when the city is covered in snow it also looks pretty stunning – although I wouldn’t advise venturing out without a hat. But I hope I don’t offend too much of my Swedish friends when I say that the weather in November in Stockholm is really rather dismal. It’s not cold enough to snow and look picturesque and yet it’s wet enough to be raining almost all the time. If you imagine a grey, wet day with da


It's interesting to note that there are 3 people on the BNP membership list with the surname Black - I'm surprised they let them in ;-)

Expanding filler...

A return, today, to the subject of blogging. Well, in part at least. Over the past few days, I’ve drafted a few entries to go in here but decided not to post them because they were far too serious and – maybe more importantly – not actually very interesting. Self-censorship is a very important thing, and it’s one of the hardest things to learn if you’re writing. I have recently started writing songs again – the change work situation for me means that I’m actually getting to spend time in the UK, and hence have the time to sit at the piano late evenings and twiddle – and one of the hardest things involved in that process is learning to cast away things which “don’t quite work”. One of the down-sides to being the sort of person who buys albums rather than singles is that you’re stuck with having the “filler tracks” in your collection. This isn’t a problem when you are sifting through the library to find something to listen to – but when you’ve put a random selection of tracks onto y

I was wrong.

A postscript now that I've had time to think is that it's not possible to construct such a Sudoku. Well, the question itself is logically flawed. I've stated that the puzzle must have a unique solution. But before you make the move and write in the number 1 in the particular location above, the puzzle (by definition thanks to the question) has multiple solutions. Hence the question is flawed itself, and I am stupid. Oops.

I wish I were better at playing chess...

I’m not bad at playing chess. But it’s one of those things I wish I were better at, but for which I don’t have the time (nor the motivation to make time) to work on in more detail. I used to play chess when I was younger, and wasn’t bad then – just as I’m not bad now. But for some reason, I have this notion in my mind that I should be better at playing chess than I am. I like to think as myself as the “kind of person who should be good at chess” so to be rather average when finding my way around the chess board feels rather unrewarding. I feel the same way about Sudoku, as it happens. It’s the sort of thing which you’d think a Cambridge Maths Graduate should be able to do. But I’m not actually very good at them. I understand the logic behind solving a Sudoku but find its application rather boring, usually. When solving Sudoku, there are usually only a few types of logic needed to solve the puzzle. But I’ve never seen the fact that a Sudoku is supposed to have a unique solut

I think my ears may be a funny shape.

I've tried numerous in-ear earphones over the years, and none of them fit. Either they fall out as I'm walking along, or the clips are the wrong size for my ears, or some other such problem. It's very distressing as not only is it hard for me to listen to Terry Wogan on the walk to work of a morning; I'm also starting to think that my ears are somehow irregular.

It's about time someone had the courage...

I'm not usually one to get political about such things, but it's about bloody time that someone had the courage to do this...

Freude, schöner Götterfunken

So, Barack Obama has won the US presidential election. I really tried to distance myself from the coverage of the campaign; the constant barrage was turning into overload as election day approached. However, I did wake up at around 5am and flicked on the TV just to see if the result was in yet. I turned on just in time to see Obama give his speech live from Chicago. Much as I’d tried to avoid the election I did actually feel quite an emotional sense of relief that he won. Of course, one man can’t change the world. But Barack Obama is just what America, and the world, needs right now. A good friend of mine said at the weekend that Barack Obama gives Americans the chance to be proud of being American again – without the need to add “sorry about our president” as a post-script. There really does seem to be a tangible sense of optimism spreading out from the election result. I think the first benefit of Obama having won is the fact that George W is effectively prevented from