Nov 17

Ben Galbraith and the Hindu Meal

British, Personal, Travel with tags: , , , 5 Comments »

“You see $1800? I see $800!”

That is what I said to Ben as we were looking at flights to London for our trip to @mediaAjax. I am writing this on the flight itself as I look over Greenland. Only 5 hours to go! :/

It showed just how bizarre the pricing of flights can be. I taught a bit at Sabre, which gave me an appreciation of why that may be the case. One of the classes was so poorly managed that we ended up having to take equipment out of a closet, and installed desks and computers (they had double booked the training room and this was the best they could do).

Anyway, a difference of more then 100% for exactly the same flight? This lead to me booking the flight for Ben and put me in the position. Ben was giving me his info as I filled out the forms on, but then a drop down shone like a beacon into my eyes.


Oh man, the prank was here. I took a look at the list which is surprisingly large. I had to get the right balance here. “Gluten free” would result in some paste that would be inedible (not that plane food is ever gourmet. I had the salad). Kosher? nah. Then it came: Hindu. This was a safe bet as it would just be vegetarian, which is probably one of the better options. I selected it and tried so hard not to crack up as we went down the list setting it all up. All I could think of was the site of a flight attendant walking up to Ben and saying:

stewardess from the 60s: “Mr. Galbraith, we have your special meal”
Ben: “Erm, huh?”
sft60s: “Yes sir, your Hindu meal”

I have been so proud of myself, and today the time was here! But, it all went arse backwards as Ben changed his earlier flight to the Bay to “spend more time with the family” (goody two shoes) and cocked up the times. This meant that he had no way to connect and had to get on another flight. I feel gipped. Next time, Mr. Galbraith.

Oct 11

Small Print, Disclaimers, and Lawyers

British, Personal, TV / Movie 1 Comment »

The small print is really getting quite bizarre. Every year the small print seems to infringe on the actual content. Whenever I am back in England I try to work out what has changed since my last visit. These changes are often impossible to detect when you are living there every day, as they are too subtle.

London 2012 Logo

One of the random observations is courtesy of the BBC news. Before every bit of video footage the anchor would say something along the lines of: “There is some light in this footage, so be warned”. It is as though the country has all become epileptic and any flashing lights would result in gibbering wrecks. Do we really need to tell people that there is a bit of flash photography? It seems like the culprit is the awful London 2012 Olympics logo that has been known to flash.

Of course, the US tends to be king of the disclaimer. Why do shows on radio and tv has to always tell you that whatever is being said, it isn’t necessarily the opinion of the station owner. Nooooo. Really? When you show Sadam at his trial, he isn’t speaking for the station? Wow, thanks for making it really obvious.

Where does it all end!

Oct 02

Channel 4 + 1: The brits way of dealing with time shifting

British, TV / Movie, Tech 4 Comments »

I couldn’t quite believe it when I saw an ad in the tube announcing a new channel: Channel 4 + 1:

channel4 1.png

That’s right. It is the SAME channel, with a one hour delay. I guess we have kinda the same thing in the US with HBO East and West, but that is a touch different. The entire UK is on the same timezone!

I love how instead of using something like TiVo, you should have another channel that gives you ONE more chance to watch a show. Of course, many people have Sky+ which has PVR functionality. I can’t wait for Channel 4 + 2.

It was also funny to see a couple of yanks taking pics in the tube…. and then take a second look and realize it was Matt Mullenweg and Om Malik (who are both speaking at the Future of Web Apps).

Oct 01

Power outlets in foreign lands…

British, Personal, Travel 1 Comment »

I am enjoying my time back in London. I am staying next to the Google London office in Victoria for now, and move to the Docklands tomorrow to speak at the Future of Web Apps which looks like a great show.

Back to the hotel…. you know it is international when you get this power to plug into:


As per usual I got in early in the morning. Victoria is great if you fly into Gatwick, as you can get the express train right there. Painless.

However, I was knackered after a non-sleep flight and wanted to shower and crash. They didn’t have my room ready though so I was told to hang in the lobby and they would grab me as soon as they got a room. I waited, and waited, and … When I finally went up again: “Oh yeah, we have your room”. Thanks.

After some clean up I hit the local store to top up my uk mobile. It is painful using a 5 year old beast when I have my iPhone in the other pocket (I know, I could have jailbreak-ed and put in another SIM….).

I was really happy to see a Nandos as soon as I walked outside. The peri-peri chicken + sauce is fantastic, and I think it will do great in the states.

I also knew I was back home when:

  • It rained… a lot
  • The trains went down

Anyway, it is fun to hang in the Google office here (very open plan), and I am looking forward to meeting interesting people at Sam Sethi’s bash (Sam does Blognation).

Mar 12

Don’t pray for rain

British, Personal, Sport 3 Comments »

With the cricket world cup upon us in the Caribbean the usual classic pub-like song has come up.

It is playing on their myspace page and you can tell their genius from the lyrics.

Don’t make us pray for rain

Watch out for Monty he’s gonna make the ball bounce, Nixon’s behind you and he’s ready to pounce

Kevin Peterson is as English as the rest of us, the Aussies wont get him out for a duck billed platypus.

Michael Vaughn Is our skipper Plunkett bowls a dipper won’t try the local herbs but might smoke a kipper

The wicket might be sticky, bowling will be tricky, .

If you wanna watch the match gonna have to throw a sickie

The ground might be slippy

The Aussies might get lippy

They’re gonna need some help, they should send for Skippy

So come on now lads, time to pull on your pads

don’t’ put us through a months worth of pain

Aint won it before time to even the score

Don’t make us pray for rain

Remember hit the ball run and then we will all have tea!

Freddie flint offs a hero, he says it’s no biggie

But he can bowl and bat while rolling a ciggie

Anything’s possible if you follow your dream

Even Scotland have got a cricket team

The ball will be spinning, throughout the innings, And up in the stand Fletcher will be grinning

No heat rashes No rash dashes come on everybody let’s forget about the ashes.

You score there’s no kissing can’t argue with dismissing In the commentary box Geoffrey boycotts reminiscing

So come on now lads, time to pull on your pads

don’t’ put us through a months worth of pain

Aint won it before time to even the score

Don’t make us pray for rain

We don’t need, the rain, don’t need, the rain, don’t need, the rain, don’t need, the rain

Feb 11

Hard to call it a win (England cricket team in Australia)

British, Personal, Sport 3 Comments »

It is a little comical that the English cricket team could win in the one day tournamant in Australia.

Only “we” could lose ~15 games, and then somehow win a couple in a row to end up victorious.

Jan 11

Becks moves down the road

British, Personal, Sport 3 Comments »

I guess if Becks makes the effort to move down the road I wil have to head down to LA to watch one of his first games for the Galaxy.

This will be a huge deal for the MLS. I would love to see the stats pre/post Beckham.

Maybe more adults will be bending it like Beckham over here, instead of playing until they are twelve and then moving on to more lucrative sports.

Jan 04

Top Gear: A show I miss

British, Personal, TV / Movie 7 Comments »

There are only a few shows I miss from England. Just like everywhere, most content on TV in the UK is crap just like it is here.

There are some gems though. One that has come up a lot in the last couple of weeks is a classic: Top Gear.

I am not even an autophile yet still find it a great show, and would think that the US public would really enjoy it too, since they seem to be easily as into cars.


May 22

Imagine getting interviewed on something you know nothing about

British, Personal 1 Comment »

The BBC managed to interview the wrong guy on the Apple Corp vs. Apple Computer lawsuit.

Guy Kewney, a white, bearded technology expert was astonished to see himself appear on screen as a black man with an apparent French accent.
The BBC were interviewing “Experts” on the Apple Corps vs Apple Computers legal case. They called for the “Expert” a Mr Guy Kewney, but a Mr Guy Goma raised his hand. A mic was attached and he was put live in the studio to answer questions.

He was a cab driver waiting for job interview.


Nov 14

Don’t call a team a BRAND!

British, Sport 1 Comment »

Robert Kraft, the US owner of the New England Patiots (American Football), and the New England Revolution Soccer team, has been pegged as a possible owner of Liverpool football team (English Premier League).

This comes after Malcolm Glazer (another american and owner of the Tampa Bay Bucs) bought Manchester United.

Now, many claim that Kraft is very different, and actually cares and understands the game of soccer, however the first thing that the Liverpool faithful supporters here from him is:

Liverpool is a great brand

That made my cringe. A brand? This is a team that people in Liverpool spill blood over. This is their city (with Everton ;). They have an immense legacy in football, and you call it a brand????

That just keeps promoting the american stereotype!