Friday, August 31, 2007

friday night

friday night, originally uploaded by Knotty.

Book ethics

Would you dog-ear, write on pages, highlight, rip out a page, burn a book or throw a book away?


I rarely dog-ear, and never write or highlight on a page.  I would never rip out a page, or burn a book.  I would struggle to throw a book in to the rubbish bin.  I do however, have no problem whatsoever leaving books behind for other people to read, particularly those that I cannot imagine reading again.  I do like to maintain a bookshelf at home that I have particuarly enjoyed and would like to re-read again in the future.  I love to read.  Novels and fiction more than history and biographies.  The escapism of a good yarn appeals more than the self-education aspect of reading.  Not to say that I don't try to read a varied range of authors and subjects.  I struggle to not finish a book even if I am not enjoying it.  The same with films I find.  I should be more strict with my leisure time I think.  From the list below I think I would only contemplate the Ramsay or the Harry Potter book, but they would be books of last resort and no doubt I would leave them behind too.. well, perhaps not the Potter.

The top 10 most discarded books in Travelodge UK hotel rooms

1. The Blair Years by Alastair Campbell
2. Don't You Know Who I Am? by Piers Morgan
3. A Whole New World by Jordan
4. Wicked by Jilly Cooper
5. Dr Who Creatures & Demons by Justin Richard
6. The Diana Chronicles by Tina Brown
7. I Can Make You Thin by Paul McKenna
8. Humble Pie by Gordon Ramsay
9. The Story Of A Man And His Mouth by Chris Moyles
10. Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows by JK Rowling



Public holidays

In the UK the public holiday on the last Monday of August marks, in most British minds, the unofficial end of summer. Once over, gloom descends: workers face four months of uninterrupted slog until Christmas Eve, their next official day off.

In Japan there is no public holiday in August at all.  In September there are two days, both Mondays, in October another Monday, in November a Friday and then in December two Mondays again, but no Christmas Day or Boxing Day.

Monday 17 September - Respect for the Aged Day
Monday 24 September - Autumnal Equinox Day
Monday 8 October - Health Sports Day
Friday 23 November - Labour Thanksgiving DayBirthday
Monday 24 December - Emperor's
Monday 31 December - Bank Holiday

On top of these there are 9 other public holidays in a Japanese calendar year.. doesn't really make up for the 12 hour days though.

Heston - What next?

"So I confronted him: is he driven by the passion to create something – anything – startlingly new, or to create a better dish? He got quite worked up about this dilemma and stressed that it is all definitely in aid of creating a better dish. He may well believe so but, frankly, I don't. His real passion is to create new combinations that work well. My conclusion is that he is a great chef who will go down in history as the greatest culinary innovator whose brain matched his palate. And he is only 41."

Egon Ronay in the Times on Heston Blumenthal, chef-proprietor of the Fat Duck in Bray, Berkshire.

Joli and I ate dinner at the Duck a few weeks ago during our UK trip.  I would like to write it up, but my descriptive powers fail me.  It was amazingly fantastic.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Food shopping

My great mate Will texted a message over the weekend saying that he needed some advice. 

He had just been offered eight venison legs for 50 quid and wondered if that was two deer?  I thought it was stag-gering value. 

Reminded me of getting stung by a bee the other day.  20 quid for a jar of honey.  Outrageous.

Educating Miss Carolina

Education in the USA.. a hot topic.. even at a beauty pageant.

Watch the video.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Postal dearth

Struck down with a fever within three days of my return. Nice. Could have be an ear infection, could have been stomach. Feels like both. Spent the last four days slowly recovering. Never get the little things. Just the full fat 100% knock you for six stuff. It sucks.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007


"In one of history's more absurd acts of totalitarianism, China has banned Buddhist monks in Tibet from reincarnating without government permission.

According to a statement issued by the State Administration for Religious Affairs, the law, which goes into effect next month and strictly stipulates the procedures by which one is to reincarnate, is "an important move to institutionalize management of reincarnation.""

msnbc via dilbertblog

Permabull's Guide to Wall Street Lingo

Analysts: Highly paid cheerleaders who figure out ways to make stocks appear cheap

Bad news: Events that cause the Federal Reserve to cut interest rates so that share prices go up

Bears: Sad, lonely people who don't appreciate why equity prices invariably move higher

Brokers: Specially-trained relationship managers who convert mere mortals into super-bulls

Bulls: Well-bred equity investors

Bond market: The place where stock market bears are sent out to pasture for their wayward views

Cash: Realized gains that equity investors spend on fancy vacations and assorted luxury items

Dividends: A positive influence on stock prices

Economy: An irrelevant side show to what happens in the equity market

Fear: An emotion that bulls experience when they are not 100% invested

Federal Reserve Board: A group of public officials who do their best to ensure that bulls are happy

Fundamentals: Anything that can help explain why stock prices rally

Greed: The only emotion that matters when it comes to playing the stock market

Hedge funds: Aggressive investors who use lots of leverage to ensure that stock prices eventually go up

Interest rates: A factor that occasionally serves as an explanation for why stocks rally

Leverage: The fail-safe strategy of using borrowed money to boost returns as share prices rise

Losses: The net result of selling short and listening to bond traders

Mutual funds: Investment vehicles that enable bulls to remain fully invested in the equity market at all times

Short-sellers: Dour individuals who scramble to cover bad bets as stock prices rally

Strategists: Highly paid cheerleaders who figure out ways to make stocks appear cheap

Wall Street: The place where bulls congregate and fawn over one another.


Friday, August 17, 2007

casa verde back garden

casa verde back garden, originally uploaded by Knotty.

casa verde pool

casa verde pool, originally uploaded by Knotty.

Life sucks

casa verde, vora sitges

casa verde, vora sitges, originally uploaded by Knotty.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

what a back garden

what a back garden, originally uploaded by Knotty.


roar!, originally uploaded by Knotty.


Montserrat, originally uploaded by Knotty.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

protein injection

protein injection, originally uploaded by Knotty.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007


seaview, originally uploaded by Knotty.


entryway, originally uploaded by Knotty.

bloque 4

bloque 4, originally uploaded by Knotty.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

astronaut ian

astronaut ian, originally uploaded by Knotty.

sailboat and view

sailboat and view, originally uploaded by Knotty.


reception, originally uploaded by Knotty.


congregation, originally uploaded by Knotty.


flags, originally uploaded by Knotty.

beach wedding

beach wedding, originally uploaded by Knotty.

Friday, August 10, 2007

balancing act

balancing act, originally uploaded by Knotty.

Elephant's footprint meets 4x4

let's offroad

let's offroad, originally uploaded by Knotty.

Landrover Experience, Devon

Thursday, August 09, 2007

b&b bedroom view

b&b bedroom view, originally uploaded by Knotty.

Pretty much the same view as in tokyo really.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007


dinner, originally uploaded by Knotty.

christmas cottage

christmas cottage, originally uploaded by Knotty.

A lovely place to stay in Bray

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

tough day at the office for isaac

tough day at the office for isaac, originally uploaded by Knotty.

Sunday, August 05, 2007


reflective, originally uploaded by Knotty.

room with a view

room with a view, originally uploaded by Knotty.

the eye

the eye, originally uploaded by Knotty.

on guard

on guard, originally uploaded by Knotty.

nelsons moon

nelsons moon, originally uploaded by Knotty.


landed, originally uploaded by Knotty.

Nice and hot and sunny too!

Saturday, August 04, 2007

ride home

ride home, originally uploaded by Knotty.

Friday, August 03, 2007


The Cliffs of Moher in Ireland. It may look familiar to you as “The Cliffs of Insanity” from the film, The Princess Bride. The updrafts can be strong enough to make a biker weightless.



down under

The other day I saw a man playing Dancing Queen on the Didgeridoo.

I thought, that's Aboriginal.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

moral: reside in japan

"It was swifter than eagles, it was stronger than lions. It was a silver-grey Marin Sausalito with featherlight wishbone struts and, with tyres pumped and a following wind, it was a two-wheeled Desert Orchid, capable of surging from Highbury to the House of Commons in less than 20 minutes.

When someone's bicycle is stolen the discussion is entirely about what he or she could have done to prevent it. The police talk about the need for tougher locks, and special serial numbers, and the cycling experts give out various bits of anti-theft advice. Don't have a bike that's too flash, they say. Try painting it some depressing colour, like orange or purple. Try having a basket at the front, they say, or mudguards, or anything to make your bike look a bit grungy and unappealing.

All of which advice may be well meant, but somehow makes me pop with rage, because we seem continually to be ascribing responsibility for the event to the victim, and ignoring the critical point. It wasn't some supernatural agency that nicked your bike, or nicked my bike. It wasn't oompa-loompas or fairies or bike elves. It was thieves.

It was a bunch of cynical little sods who don't care a toss for private property, and it so happens that, on this occasion, I had taken just about every possible precaution. It was no ordinary lock I used to immobilise my machine: it was a huge steel thing made in Germany, as thick as a baby's arm, and I locked it to some railings and, as I stood back to admire my handiwork, I noted that both were far too thick to saw through.

So what did they do? They uprooted a large stake that was being used to encourage the growth of some sapling, and they jemmied it into the railings and heaved and heaved until they snapped the bar, and then scarpered with my bike and left their wreckage contemptuously on the pavement..."

witten by boris johnson mp who wants to run for london mayor against ken livingstone.. i thought the writing was great.. he is meant to be quite a character.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007


jyu, originally uploaded by Knotty.

the stunning failure of responsibility

" From the author of The Long Emergency, comes this just about perfectly summation as to the present situation:

"Last week's stock market meltdown suggested that a financial sector rigged for the falsification of reality eventually enters a danger zone where reality implacably reasserts itself, expectations dissolve, and all that remains is the sour odor of fraud.

This long episode of market mania, running for seven years, was based on the idea that non-performing loans could be turned into money by removing them from their point of origin and dressing them up in respectable clothes -- like taking all the winos in downtown Los Angeles, putting them in Prada suits, and passing them off as the faculty of the Harvard Business School. It was a transparently ludicrous racket and the wonder is that America proved to be so utterly bereft of regulating authority -- not to mention plain decency and self-restraint -- at every stage.

It's really hard to account for the stunning failure of responsibility. What you had was a whole industry that surrendered the standards and norms that brought it into being and enabled it to function in the first place. Mortgage lenders stopped requiring house-buyers to qualify for loans; bankers stopped caring what stood behind the paper they issued; dubious loans were bundled and resold like barrels of rotten anchovies -- in such numbers that no individual stinking minnow would stand out -- and the barrels were traded up the line, leveraged, hedged, fudged, fobbed, and fiddled until, abracadabra, they were transformed into so many Tribeca lofts, Hampton villas, Piaget wristwatches, million-dollar birthday parties, and Gulfstream jets.

It worked for the Goldman Sachs bonus babies, and the private equity scammers, and for the corporate CEOs and their board members, and for the politicians who parlayed their votes into cushy lobbying jobs, and even for the miserable quants in the federal government's termite mounds of statistical reportage. It even worked for about 18 months for millions of feckless US citizens gulled into contracts for houses they could never hope to pay for, under arrantly false and ruinous terms.


Ouch indeed.

More of the above


cool blue gummi

serious eats

so freakin' cool

want one.. for christmas.. pretty please.. with bells on.