Ferraris and rollercoasters

A couple of good videos of late from the BBC. First, the reconstruction after 27 years of the cub scouts’ rollercoaster lunch on Jim’ll Fix It. And next to Eddie Griffin’s totalling of a £760,000 Ferrari Enzo.

Both worth a squizz.

156 chimes

Big Ben chimes 156 times a day, a useful fact I calculated yesterday while listening to six glorious such chimes.

Stat. of the day

The richest two Americans have the same total wealth as the poorest 90 million.

Source: tonight’s BBC News. For the record, the richest two are Billy G. and Warren Buffett.

1,000th comment

Congratulations, little site. After 992 days in existence and 841 posts, you’ve have your 1,000th comment.

The momentous comment was from Thomas in response to post 839 at 2.02pm today.

Of course, you’re a website, so you deal in 1s and 0s. So you’re eagerly awaiting comment 1,024, right? Shouldn’t be long now.

For the statistically-obsessed, some averages for you.

That is all.

Fabulous collectibles

A couple of words that have caught my eye of late.

First, I used the word fabulous recently. I loved the idea that it could be construed as meaning of or relating to fables. It inspires a much greater feeling than its regular meaning of really good.

And today, I passed a charity shop that was advertising its sale of collectibles. (It was spelt collectables but I don’t like that version.) Surely technically, everything falls into this category. Everything, that is, of which there are two or more in existence. Collecting one-offs would be somewhat challenging, and arguably futile.

A couple of captchas

A couple of neat captchas designed to go beyond the traditional warped letters and random sums. For those not in the know, captcha stands for completely automated public Turing test to tell computers and humans apart, and it’s that step you have to go through sometimes when you buy tickets, add comments etc.

First of all, asirra from Microsoft Research. Basically, you’re presented with a picture of nine cats and dogs, and you have to pick out the cats. Apparently, asirra stands for Animal Species Image Recognition for Restricting Access. (I wonder if they’re going to offer me a fortune to buy my domain name off me.)

And then there’s Hot Captcha, the same concept, but with attractive and unattractive women/men (you can choose).

Great concept.

Bus stop injustice

Fuck it’s cold today.

I only realised just how cold while waiting at a bus stop for the 77 to take me home, having ventured out this morning to pick up some parking permits for my builder. My trepid (it must be a word, given that intrepid and trepidation both are) hands deemed it sufficiently cold not to venture out of their respective pockets to hold the book I’d brought with me to wile away very moments like these.

And boy did I wait? (For the record, boy will have no option but to respond with a resounding "yes sirree".) A full half an hour wait for a bus that is scheduled to come by (not in the One Man And His Dog sense, more in the bus sense) every 9–12 minutes (after 8am on Saturdays). For the entire half hour, I waited alone at the bus stop, while buses sporting numbers other than 77 steamed past me, leaving backdrafts of cold air in their wake to add to my misery.

And finally, the 77 arrived, at the same time as a lady who also needed its service. Why did I have to wait half an hour, while she had no such wait? I felt cold and cheated.

Yet my chivalrous nature wasn’t compromised, as I allowed her to board the bus before me. Now I feel warm, self-righteous and I can read my book.

Exclusively voicemail

Over the last few days, I’ve been conducting my friendship with my, er, friend Rob by the medium of voicemail. I have to say, it’s been quite refreshing.

For whatever reason, I’ve been otherwise engaged whenever he’s called. And I can only imagine that the same must be true for him on the times when I have returned said calls.

I have enjoyed listening to his vocal ramblings, and apparently one of my such replies ranks as the third funniest voicemail of all time. Not sure whether that’s across all voicemails to all phones, or just to Rob. Also, when his voicemail kicks in, I enjoy listening to his very random, unprofessional (he’s a student; why would he need to be professional?) invite for me to leave a message ("or something").

The dialogue-embargo was broken yesterday evening, when Rob decided that he was able to talk to me directly. It fell way short of the earlier voicemail shenanigans. Way short.

Starbucks’ 1005% mark-up

Often, when I go into my local Starbucks early in the morning, they have their food order sheet lying around on the counter. This is the sheet confirming all the food that has been delivered that day.

I can’t help but scan down that sheet and did so this morning, only to find their average muffins (including the Sunrise Muffin) coming in at £1.52 for a pack of twelve. That’s a little over 12.5p each. Just off to the right of that sheet, the very same muffins are on sale (on sale in the being sold sense of the word, rather than the discounted price sense) for £1.40 each.

That’s a healthy 1005% mark-up.

Excellentialism

Someone at work the other day described Excel as "God’s tool". While not being a believer (in God, not Excel. I believe in Excel, a belief called excellentialism), I have to agree.

It’s surprising, as this guy was, and indeed is, a techie. Usually, techies and Excel don’t mix.

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