Showing posts from December, 2007

On the 6th day of Christmas

While I wait in the semi-expectation of being berated for my scathing attack on the ‘innocence of the festive season’ by my series of captioned images in the previous post, I can take heart from the fact that I won’t be the only one. Catherine Tate’s Christmas special is being investigated by Ofcom, the broadcasting standards watchdog, following a barrage of complaints from viewers.I didn’t see this show first time around, but caught up with it a couple of days ago on the BBC’s excellent new online viewing facility: the iPlayer. Being one that has his ear very much to the technical ground, I heard about this project well in advance of launching. So far, I’m very impressed. The Catherine Tate complaints are, quite honestly, a little flimsily substantiated. While it’s remotely plausible to claim that the scene involving the Irish family exchanging gifts contains a vague element of racism, the complaints regarding the excessive swearing in the opening sketch are just silly. I mean, it w…

Christmas Caption Competition

Once again this year, the caption competition has been a closely-run thing.  Here are a few of my favourites.

Christmas Update

Congratulations for making it this far through the festive frivolities and general merry-making. After spending Christmas at home this year, the Michael will return to his flat tomorrow, after which normal service should hopefully resume.

As a break from the turkey, stuffing and God-knows else what today, I swung by Digg to catch up on things and was amazed to discover this statistic: in 2007 there are CONSIDERABLY more people using Yahoo Mail over Google’s offering, Gmail. Don’t believe me?

And finally, to accompany my post today, an all-too-fitting image which captures the common mood in a variety of situations on Boxing Day across the UK. So whether you’re pi**ed off with turkey and stuffing, have suffered one disappointment after another on the present-front this year or, God forbid, have the in-laws visiting, this, troubled reader, is for you.


As befits this time of year, the Michael and Law Actually are going to be enjoying a little festive downtime for the next 2/3 days.

As I noted last year during my Philly trip, tonight is that all-important night for the ‘busiest guy in show business’ – Father Santa. Quite what that bearded buffoon gets up to for the other 364 days of the year is another matter, but I’ve heard it rumoured that he’s got a premium subscription to the Fantasy Channel and a widescreen TV in Santa HQ behind a lockable door away from Mrs Claus. But who knows.

So while most of us prepare to drink ourselves into oblivion and consume our own body weight in food tomorrow, Father Santa will be hard at it busting his ba**s in that sleigh of his. Although last year I debated whether his sleigh is actually still pulled by Reindeer or whether he’s joined the 21st century and fitted jet engines, I've no intention of adding to that talking-point this year. Instead, as Santa nears the half-way point in his annual deli…

Forget Sat-Nav – ask a meter warden

The Michael has had a busy time of it lately. Having travelled back from my flying visit home on Monday/Tuesday, I’d barely settled in when I was notified late Tuesday afternoon that I had a job interview to attend later this week. On Wednesday, I skulked into town to reconnoitre the location of the interview and pick a suitable route. Having safely relied on Google Maps before, I put my trust in it again. Big mistake.Because of the erroneous map, what should have taken me minutes from the centre of town, took me nearly an hour and a half, aided and at times, hindered, by the directions of about 5 different people. I had nearly given up hope and started to head back to base for the day when I had an overdue stroke of good fortune. At the last moment as I staggered on, frozen in the near-arctic conditions, I spied a parking meter warden, solemnly doing his duty and slapping fixed penalty notices on a few parked cars. Without too much hope, I casually asked him if he knew where it was.…

Christmas is coming – believe it or not

The blawging community seems to be winding down for the impending festivities at the moment. While the more prolific blawgers of us out there reflect and take stock on what has undoubtedly been an arduous first term, crawling away to lick our wounds from a battery of mock exams and assessments, one notable thing has struck me this December - just how ‘unChristmassy’ it seems.So what is it with Christmas this year? Is it still on? Has anyone heard? The whole thing seems to be passing me by on the outside lane as we career inevitably towards another 25th December and all the associated festivities/suffering that comes with it.So I’m left wondering if Christmas has indeed been cancelled this year. But to whom do you write to find out? Father Santa? The God Squad? Or just average Joe out there on the street? Answers on a postcard, please.

Finally - Data Protection Law to be Reviewed

From: Outlaw 14/12/07The Government has launched a consultation into how personal data is treated in the aftermath of the HM Revenue and Customs' loss of 25 million people's sensitive information.Information Commissioner Richard Thomas is one of the two men in charge of the consultation, which will focus on the use and sharing of information. The other is Government science and technology advisor Dr Mark Walport.The consultation will consider changes to the Data Protection Act and will present Government with options for changes to the law.“The review will be concentrating on information sharing. When do public bodies, in particular, need to make use of personal information held by others to do their job properly?" said Thomas. "Law enforcement, child protection and more personalised services may be examples. But we will need to assess the dangers if information is shared too freely."And about time too.  This one is long overdue and imposing more stringent guid…

Work Experience – the plight of all law students

The Michael has decided that it’s time to embark on a little extra work experience to further improve his CV. I know, better than most, the true importance of having a solid work experience background for a law student and what a difference it can make. Earlier this year, I had another bash. Having enjoyed the usual response to the array of letters I sent out to law firms seeking work experience-- i.e. the letter is ignored or at best, answered bluntly in the negative-- I struck it lucky this time and have received a favourable response. So with my appointment set up, I tottered along, suited and booted this morning, to meet my potential mentor.In short, I can happily report that it looks promising. I’ve been assured of some work experience, at least, with a variety of partners in different departments. Luckily, my interviewer sympathised greatly with the affliction that is work experience, and expressed his palpable dislike of it when as a student, he himself suffered the torment fir…

Fred Claus - The Law Actually Review

I freely admit that I’m not a fan of your typical ‘Christmas movie’. At the risk of perpetuating the growing opinion that I’m the reincarnation of Ebeneezer Scrooge, I never really subscribed to the whole ‘magical Christmas movie thing’ even as a kid. Save for Home Alone 1 and 2, of course. When we skulked across to the cinema on a wet and windy December afternoon, I wasn’t sure what I was in for. Given the time of day there were just two film options open to us. We opted for Fred Claus, merely to save waiting around for ‘The Golden Compass’ showtime, a decision which I surprisingly didn’t regret.Simply getting into the cinema proved more difficult than expected – all the doors were locked. We were left for several minutes with nothing to do but wander aimlessly up and down, stamping our feet and shivering uncontrollably in the near-arctic conditions. After trying all the doors for a final time, and starring awkwardly into the dimly-lit entrance, a female worker behind the counter fin…

Call Centre worker's accent not English enough

From: CPD Webinars 03/12/07A British man of Asian origin has won a racial discrimination case against his employer, Talk Talk Direct, because his accent “wasn’t English enough”.
Chetankumar Meshram, 27, a call centre trainer from Northampton, was selected for a two month secondment to Talk Talk Direct’s Delhi office to train staff but was sent back to England after just three weeks.
Mr Meshram was born in India but moved to Britain in 2005. He said: “I was called into a meeting with my boss, who told me I was to be replaced with a better English speaker.  I know I speak with an accent but my job out there was to give technical advice, not to give expertise on how to communicate. It was an embarrassing and humiliating experience.”
Bedford Employment Tribunal found that he had suffered both direct and indirect discrimination and awarded him compensation for hurt feelings and expenses incurred during his trip to India.
The whole call-centre-rep's-difficult-to-understand accent is …

Not so green computing

From: 05/12/07"Experts have warned that the IT industry's carbon footprint is skyrocketing and could soon surpass that of the aviation industry.The survey of 120 senior IT directors in the UK found that 86 per cent are unaware of their IT department's carbon footprint, and 61 per cent of data centres had capacity for only two more years of growth.In this environment, a flabby business that guzzles budget and energy is likely to be a prime target for impending legislation."Energy-hungry electronics are not going away anytime soon; in fact, it's only going to get worse as dependency on electronics further increases. I still can't help but feel that we've missed the boat here. As the world has been clearly heading down the tech road for decades now, why is it only now that true panic is setting in? Whilst a change in the law to force IT departments to become more energy efficient would help, surely educating the wider public would yield more subst…

Tuck me in before you go go

The Michael spent a little time today catching up on back issues of TWIT podcasts (mainly Windows Weekly and This Week in Law though I have to admit that I'm tuning into this latter offering less and less nowadays).  I also took a swing by Leo Laporte's blog and found this picture of him readjusting his 'trouser furniture' during a break in filming.  He claimed he was just 'tucking himself in' though I'm not entirely convinced.  Either way, it makes uncomfortable viewing - particularly for the more impressionable blogwatchers out there.Couldn't you have gone backstage, Leo?  Charming, just charming.

Another Trip to Looe - the town that defies categorisation

Sunday marked the Michael's second trip of 2007 to the quaint Cornish town of Looe (see my earlier visit). Earlier this year - around Easter time - I sampled the delights that this unfathomable seaside town has to offer. I have to admit that I still don't 'get' Looe; it's like no other Cornish place that I've been to. It undoubtedly has elements that smack of the archetypal Cornish village: narrow winding streets, ice cream palours, tea-rooms, cheap gift shops, bakeries and pubs all by the bucket-load. It's even topped off by a respectably-sized sandy beach at the end. But sitting uncomfortably amongst these stereotypical ingredients are the following misfits:a couple of strangely expensive gift shops, a well-stocked arcade, a joke shop, a variety unremarkable shoe/clothing shops and a chandlery - yes, a freaking chandlery!
Moreover, it has fishing boats aplenty but seems devoid of fisherman, and strange shelters along the beachfront, perpetually inhabited,…

International AIDS day

From: Baltimore Sun 1.12.07 - Bush makes AIDS Day visit
"MOUNT AIRY - On a visit yesterday to a Carroll County church whose members have volunteered for overseas AIDS programs, President Bush said he will travel to Africa early next year to view the progress of a multibillion-dollar U.S. effort to control the deadly virus.Bush, speaking on the eve of World AIDS Day, repeated a call for Congress to double the nation's commitment to foreign prevention and treatment programs to $30 billion over the next five years. Millions of lives could be improved, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa, he said, where a $15 billion administration initiative is yielding progress."
If you were wondering, the picture accompanying this post was produced by the French Government. Some time ago they released an advertising campaign highlighting the plight of AIDS and unsafe sex with this hard-hitting, provoking and memorable graphic.
General observation to no-one in particular: This post has underto…