Sunday, June 29

A Weekend Wedding in Wales

I love weddings away from home. It's like having a specific reason for going away, a holiday with a party to boot. And this weekend a bunch of us were whisked away to the far reaches of Pembrokeshire for the marriage ceremony of a close friend.

Even though some of us were there since Thursday, the weekend was still a blur. As one of the ushers most of Friday was taken up with helping set things up, rehearsing ceremonies and buying last minute items, although this really just consisted of me taking up a passenger seat as the couple-to-be drove around nailing the little details while creating brand new ones. I wonder if I'll be as stressed in the same situation?

Despite being as in the sticks as you could possibly be (Pembrokeshire is almost as far west from London as you can be - to get there you head west and keep going until you run out of road), I managed to find a mosque in which to perform Jummah in. This was a relief since I'd have had to go to Swansea or even Cardiff otherwise! There really is a mosque anywhere you'd want one in the UK.

Quite considerately the bride and groom to be had provided accommodation for the latter's side to stay in while in Wales. This was largely the same lot I had gone to Bangladesh with (and then for another couple of weddings), and so it was great to be out and about with them once more, albeit 4 years later; it was amazing how different, yet unchanged we all were. There were 25 of us in all, each bonding and developing our own individual relationships with one another; we didn't even end up becoming bored or irritated by each other by the end of the trip as so often is the case (although that may have just been because it all happened so quickly).

The wedding proper was on Saturday. It was a traditional baptist affair with a church, minister and hymns - it was very different from the Greek Orthodox wedding I had attended almost a decade ago in that the guests were expected to participate much more. It was a lot of fun - the hymns took me back to primary school, and it was pretty moving witnessing the couple exchange vows. The minister's address even got a bit heated up (let's just say an analogy was made between men and women and gas and electric cookers).

After the church we headed to Picton Castle for the reception. This bit wasn't that much different from other receptions I've been too - there was an awesome meal, various speeches and a dance floor that got some good use due to the excellent live band that was playing. My elevated status of usher meant I was to wear a fancy top hat and tails throughout, although I had made sure to bring a pair of trainers for this latter part (and I was the only one not to be complaining about throbbing feet the day after). Mercifully the weather held out - the days either side of Saturday were perfect for ducks - and the party went on till late. It was absolutely brilliant; I know this because I was still happy the next day as I got out of bed.

But we did have to get up early since the cottage we were staying in was to play venue to a garden party for the guests who couldn't make it the day before. The pressure was now on us to make the place as presentable as it had been when we arrived! Of course we managed this and the party itself went off without a hitch, with food almost as good as that from the day before.

As is the case with all these things, the end felt that it had arrived way too quickly. Most of us headed off to London around 4pm for the five hour drive back, missing the whole thing as soon as we sat in our cars. Looking back, the weekend was definitely lacking a wind down phase. Still it was a brilliant couple of days, the only regrets being that it wasn't long enough and that the actual nuptials distracted me from enjoying Wales itself. Heck it was even worth missing the European Cup Final for.

Saturday, June 28

Zubair and Charlotte

Even though it was only his brother, my oldest friend, whom I had gone to school with, I've become pretty familiar with the Khan family as a whole, mainly due to their welcoming home and arms open to outsiders. As such, I count Zubair amongst one of my closest friends; a core member of the Collective, a group of us who aren't mates because of school or work, but just because. He's another person who I'll talk to every day without fail, although that's mainly because he's as comfortable using Windows Live Messenger as I am. It was an honour to be an usher at his wedding.

In some ways we're pretty similar. We both have an irrational love for technology and computing, and researching the hell out of something on the Internet before making a purchasing decision on it. We are also very different - where I try to avoid change and the difficult situations they sometimes present at the cost of missing out altogether, Zubair seems to embrace them fully, and further get through them seemingly without even breaking a sweat.

For example, consider his marriage Charlotte this weekend. Without dwelling on the details too much I think that it's fair to say that the differences in their background and cultures did present problems, both within and without their relationship. Yet Zubair knew what he wanted, he knew what would make him happy, he dealt with the consequences and he has ended up better for it. Lesser men would and have taken another path, and when I say I supported him in this from the start it wasn't out of some lofty principle of universality or even friendly support, but purely because I knew he'd be able to make the right decision and handle it properly.

It also says a lot about his wife, Charlotte, that she's been able to come through this experience okay. Only a genuinely open mind like hers could handle a bunch like us, and if there have been any problems adjusting she certainly hasn't shown it. Pretty inside and out, it was made obvious to me where she got it all from - I had the pleasure of meeting her parents these last couple of days and am ashamed to say that I was taken aback with how welcoming and familiar they were with all of us from London.

For two people so "obviously" different, it's clear how perfectly suited to each other they are - to nick a theme from the minister's address, they show exactly how that it's not obvious similarities that make a couple work but rather the subtle differences. Although I seem to be going to a lot of weddings lately it's rarely the case that I find myself wanting what the bride and groom have like I did with them.

Tuesday, June 24

Shak's Choice: Stephanie Dubois

Even though she went out on Day One of Wimbledon, the beautiful Stephanie was definitely the highlight for me yesterday afternoon.

And if you think she's hot in that picture, you should see her play live.

I thought she was pretty good yesterday on Court No. 3, and if my vocal support was anything to go by she might even know that herself! In fact I'm sure she acknowledged my raving fandom with a nod; although come to think of it perhaps that was aimed at her coach who happened to be sitting behind me?

Anyway I've added "must be able to play tennis" to my list of rishta prerequisites. Heck I don't think I'd care much about anything else if she did!

Monday, June 23

Wimbledon Click for more info

Like all the other things I've yet to do in London, a visit to Wimbledon was always left on the back burner due to its availability the year after. It wasn't going anywhere so why should I rush? But this year was different in that a) I don't have a boss or holiday form to fill out in order to go and b) a friend who I hadn't seen for ages asked if I wanted to go with him to SW19.

A major part of the Wimbledon experience is the queuing for tickets and we had arranged to meet at Southfields at a clearly unreasonable 6:30am. I was late and got there for 7:15am, something still pretty crazy considering how the first match on any outfield court wouldn't have started till 12pm. This was a bigger queue than the one for the Alhambra!

Still, time did fly quite quickly (not least since I took a nap as well as made friends with some fellow people in the queue) and I was in the All England Lawn Tennis Club by around 10:30am. We all bought the most basic ticket, one which allowed us access to every match in the whole day barring those in the Centre and No. 1 Courts. Not bad for 20 quid, even if the queue was major. Having said that it turned out that we didn't have to come that early, although obviously the further into the queue you are the less you have to wait in it once it starts moving.

I met the rest of the group in the free standing area of Court No. 2 where we waited another couple of hours for the first match to be played there, Marcos Baghdatis (CYP)[10] vs Steve Darcis (BEL). After a gruelling two hours forty minutes, Darcis was finally put down in the forth set, gallant yet annoying for the majority of the audience (and most of us were, perhaps unfairly, muttering under our breath on each point he lengthened the game by!). Standing for that amount of time in the hot sun wasn't pleasant, especially after the mammoth queue that same morning and the fact that we had killed a good part of the afternoon with it made it all the more frustrating.

After lunch (including strawberries but with no cream) and prayer on the hill (the one with the big telly) we decided to take a more free approach to picking what matches to watch, and so we wandered around the courts looking for excitement. Just to stem my curiosity I just had to watch a women's match close up - unlike with Court No. 2 we were allowed to sit right up to the net with the other outfield courts.

At what felt like a very late 4:45pm we stumbled across Court No. 3 where Anna Chakvetadze (RUS)[8] was playing Stephanie Dubois (CAN). Dubois was leading in the second set after losing the first - a perfect set up for a good match. I enjoyed my second match much more than the first - we were seated (which helped massively), we had an awesome first-hand view of the baseline and players and last but (perhaps obviously) not least the players were much better looking than the guys in Court No. 2.

I actually got into the match and quickly swore my allegiance to the beautiful Dubois, possibly becoming that annoying guy in the audience who shouts the first name of their chosen goddess before each point. Still, I'm sure that I didn't put her off too much - she may have even appreciated the support.

Despite her leading the final set 3-5 at one point, she eventually, and quite disappointingly for me, lost it 8-6. Despite the outcome I had thoroughly enjoyed the match and at last understood the appeal of Wimbledon.

We hung around the same court for the next match, Mario Ancic (CRO) vs Michael Llodra (FRA)[32]. I lasted a whole set before getting bored, and I began to suspect that perhaps the men's game just wasn't for me. I felt that my reasons were more legitimate than those of a general ogler - it just seemed to be a bunch of aces, double-faults failed returns with the guys I saw, whereas the women at least had some excellent rallies and drama.

Leaving Court No. 3, we once again took a peek at the other matches being played and took some time to check out the rest of the facilities on offer. After a while we decided to return to the tennis and headed back to Court No. 2 only to see Sergiy Stakhovsky (UKR) retire in his match against David Ferrer (ESP)[5].

Going back to what I knew I'd enjoy, I decided to watch a match being played on the adjoining Court No. 6 where Anabel Medina Garrigues (ESP) beat Zi Yan (CHN) in straight sets, another match that was enjoyable to watch. Still it was good that it was short lived since it allowed us to catch one more match before heading off home.

Our final destination was Court No. 19 where Barbora Zahlavova Strycova (CZE) was playing Camille Pin (FRA). Despite there being no seeded players in this match it was again good to watch and full of emotion (sometimes vocalised!) as the direction of play kept swinging between the players. Strycova managed to beat Pin just as the sun was going down, and I was glad we got to see it through.

All in all my day out to Wimbledon was pretty awesome. I watched some good tennis, was drenched in atmosphere and had some good clean fun. My biggest surprise was at how accessible the whole experience was, from the queuing and low cost of entry, to how friendly all the other attendees were and even the little things like the price of food and the availability of free water all pointed to the fact that the organisers wanted us to enjoy the tennis rather than make as much money as they could.

Well worth the day out, and if you've yet to experience Wimbledon I urgently suggest that you make the effort to go. I don't think you'll regret it. Heck, I may even make it a yearly tradition to go on each time on Day One myself!

Pictures from my day out can be found here.

Saturday, June 21

Adding Value

I was first introduced to the concept of "adding value" back in a university course regarding how to start a new venture. Although it now appears to be an obvious and fundamental point the idea that intangible things like effort, focus and care could increase the financial worth of something was something that many people in the audience, including myself, didn't really grasp until then.

It explains why someone can get away with charging hundred for a handbag that costs a fraction of its asking price to make. Or why different actors can charge a different amount for doing the same job. Or why sometimes it's worth paying someone a large salary to do something they're really good at but doesn't directly affect the manufacturing of a product.

And it's not just about profit or financial gain either. Running a charity for instance is (mostly) about prompting a change in your surroundings. And many people add value simply by making their family or friends happy or comfortable in their daily lives. And going back to business, some of the best aren't interested in making money but more about making the world a better place in which to live. The fact that many are also worth multi-millions is just an aside or bonus.

In short, it's what makes something greater than the sum of its parts.

There is no science to adding value. Since by definition part of the equation is intangible it's difficult to determine exactly how much value is being added - and then if at all since some things can also subtract value too. It's usually up to all involved (be they manufacturers, consumers or whatever) to figure out whether a union is, effectively, worth it or not. One thing to remember though is that any assessment should be made on a holistic level, by considering those who might not be directly involved.

But let's apply this idea to something a bit more interesting, namely relationships and marriage. You can assess relationships, both potential and existing in much the same way, by trying to measure how much value you both add by being together as opposed to remaining apart (since you may add value by removing yourself from the equation altogether) and in what form this benefit takes.

And most of us kinda do this already even if they don't realise it. The selfish types wonder how their own life has or will improve. The considerate types ask how they can make their partner's life better. And in some rare cases the altruistic type question the impact of their relationship on the world (or at the very least those around them). More often than not however all three are considered.

But using this as a basis to go ahead with a marriage or whatever can bring about some weird decisions. For example, two super intelligent quad-degree holders may look good together in theory, but might not actually add anything to who they each already are (why would someone who knows everything already need to know more?). And a woman who is perfect on paper (you know: smart, good looking and able to cook) may still be single because she hasn't quite figured out how she can add value to all the potential suitors queuing up for her.

A guy may decline a girl who totally digs him and who he might even like back just because he doesn't see how he can add value to her life. A couple who do add value to each other may not give it go because they don't add value to the lives of others (family, say) since the net profit, as it were, is still not enough to make the deal worth it. And finally, a couple may decide to split up if they find they're actually subtracting value rather than adding it.

A final twist to this application of adding value is related to the law of diminishing returns. That is that the higher the value you add to your own life - so for example being content with your life, having great family and friends and a job you enjoy - the harder it is for someone else to add value to it. This may explain why people who are content and happy already may not see the appeal of partaking in a relationship, since even if it was super hot it might just not add enough value to their lives.

It worth remembering this concept of adding value, if only because it may explain why some people are still single, or seemingly perfect couples don't work. I'm still not sure whether the ability to add value is a skill that can be learned or practised in itself, but I suspect that some people are better than it that others.

Whatever the case, the next time you can't figure out why someone is backing away from a apparently perfect relationship or any other venture, try asking exactly how much value would have been added by it going ahead. Perhaps it just wouldn't have been enough to continue with?

City Circle: The Futures Project - Investing in the Talent of the Youth Click for more info

The only real reasons for me to attend a City Circle event these days is either the promise of an entertaining and engaging discussion or the fact that a close friend would be hosting it. Sometimes, like today, I'm even lucky enough to be treated to both (and I'm not just saying that because they might be reading either).

My first and only direct experience with the Muslim Youth Helpline was applying for and being consequently declined for a position on the helpline itself in 2005. From my rejected (and so possibly bitter) position I found the organisation to have had a slightly unfocused aim and message back then; for example when I asked whether the fundamental objective of the helpline was to either help or Islamically guide, I got the impression that the MYH didn't really see a difference between the two.

But a lot changes in three years and although I've had a light exposure to the recent and subtle transformation of the MYH tonight was the first time it would be direct and formal and I was interested in seeing in what way they may have changed. Joining MYH chair Mohammed Choudhury was fellow trustee Dr. Rabia Malik and between them they did a good job of addressing most of the concerns the sparse yet engaged audience had.

Via various case studies and real life stories, we learned why the faith-based help the MYH was providing was so crucial - Islam wasn't just a facilitating common ground between client and counsellor but an important source of identity for those seeking help, and so a baseline or reference on which their own solutions were hoped to be built.

That said it was good to see that the helpline had been thinking about the question I had posed three years earlier - Dr. Malik nailed it when answering a question about the Islamic credentials of the MYH by explaining how they weren't really there to provide technical answers to Islamic questions but to more facilitate a use of a callers own judgement and responsibility. I've been a big fan of Dr. Malik's for a while and it's stuff like this that makes me think it's great move on the part of the MYH to have her on as a trustee.

Mohammed on the other hand dealt more with the structural and strategic design of MYH. He explained how their efforts were now more definably split between support and advocacy and talked about the non-helpline initiatives they were driving - a case in point being the video project we were asked to watch toward the end of the talk. It was encouraging to see the MYH had thought about the more business like aspects of running such a project (as opposed to just winging it like many other similarly helpful organisations would).

Whether the intention behind tonight was to publicise or inform, my feelings towards the MYH has changed from indifference to an interest beyond passing, although probably not enough to become actively involved myself. With their fresh and focused attitude I can pretty much see them affecting major change both in the lives of those they intend to help and quite possibly for the rest of us too. It'll be interesting to see how further they'll be in three more years.

Friday, June 20

XKCD Click for more info

Some people think that a fear of commitment is selfish and inconsiderate. Today XKCD shows how this isn't necessarily the case.

I don't think it's unusual to doubt what you can offer in an relationship, and even to wonder whether someone would be better off without you what with all the problems you'd introduce. But then I guess the whole point of the comic is to show how sometimes thinking ahead can be a bad thing.

Monday, June 16

Shak's Choice: Cheryl Cole

I'm not sure why it's taken me so long to choice Cheryl since she's always been hot:

Perhaps it's because Heartbreaker and Can't Speak French are being played almost continuously on The Hits? Or maybe I'm just bored and it's been a while since I've even had a choice? Whatever the case, I'm ashamed to say that I don't even care whether she happens to be racist or not. And perhaps more worryingly even the Geordie accent doesn't seem to matter much either.

New Music

Beedi - Omkara

Two years late so there's no point in introducing this. Still an ace track though.

Black and Gold - Sam Sparro

I've been resisting this so far purely on the basis of the artist's name, but I've finally cracked. There's something eighties about it that I can't quite place.

Love in this Club - Usher feat. Young Jeezy

And I thought I had grown out of R&B. It's probably due to the classic feel of this track that makes it such a tune.

Love Song - Sara Bareilles

Catchy ballad pop kinda tune. Sara herself is strangely attractive, although she loses points for bad grammar.

Violet Hill - Coldplay


Sunday, June 15

Food: Lahore Kebab House Click for more info

I remember when this place was a small take-away with just a family room available upstairs. The now sprawling two floor establishment, with 350 covers, is a testament to how good the place is.

I'm not sure how true their claim of being one of only a few restaurants that serve authentic Pakistani food, but whatever the case they do serve up some brilliant nosh - on our table there was dhal, haleem and kebabs, all so good I found it difficult to stop.

Decor is nice and clean and service was relatively good considering the place. I would say that, being a bit too popular, it does feel like a bit of a marketplace, but once you get your orders in the food did come pretty quickly.

Costing around a tenner a head Lahore isn't the cheapest place to eat this kind of food. But for the quality and cleanliness it's very good value and so takes a place amongst my list of places to go a bit more regularly.

Saturday, June 14

Book: The Art of the Start, Guy Kawasaki Click for more info

When a friend offered me a borrow of this book aimed at budding entrepreneurs (joking about something regarding exchange for an equity stake or something while doing so), I jumped at the chance. After all, what do I know about starting up a new business?

And it actually turned out being quite useful too. A lot of it is just the "mere" listing of common sense, but Kawasaki manages to leverage his deep experience to educate about new and possibly esoteric ideas too. Whatever the brand of education, it always feels real and easy to relate to, something which makes it such a pleasure to read.

I guess the thing which drew me to the book the most was the stress on the more human principles over capitalism - for example how the meaning behind a company is more important than money it may make. There's more than a few lessons to help with the living of everyday life let alone a start-up.

At 217 pages it's a brisk read which may just go to prove how straightforward the whole deal is, and The Art of a Start is recommended whether you're thinking of doing your own thing or not.

Film: The Incredible Hulk Click for more info

If at first you don't succeed, try again, right? I don't think I'm alone in thinking that the first modern Hulk film was pretty much a travesty (mutating dogs? Really?), and so I'm glad that those in control swallowed their pride and both allowed and funded a second go. Just to be clear they've totally forgotten the Ang Lee version - this is NOT a follow up or sequel.

So with something so poor to directly compare this to, it was always going to be easy to come up with something better. But Hulk was okay in its own right too - there was adequate action, a decent straightforward plot and no digressions.

That said, it was still a bit of a missed opportunity - as if the intention was just to beat what had already been seen. Edward Norton was wasted for instance, and for the purists the makers did depart from canon quite a bit. It was also lacking in wow factor for me, with some of the action not really living up to the potential such a character offers.

Iron Man may have raised my standards a bit, but The Incredible Hulk is worth watching if only to erase any memory you have of the first attempt five years ago. Oh and there are no mutating dogs to be seen either.

One to Watch: Kids Say

10am This Morning, Islam Channel

The short notice is deliberate. Hopefully you'll be reading this on a Monday by which point it would be way too late to watch. But just so I can claim to be impartial and informative with these things, the relevant section runs from 10:10am for ten minutes.

There may or may not be be repeats. Either way, I certainly wouldn't post about them here.

Friday, June 13


xxxx says (18:12):
    u kno
    ur like 29
xxxx says (18:13):
    thats so young
    u should be fully enjoying the bachelor life
    guys like u .... should be impossible to nail down
    u know the ones that never commit
    and drive girls up the wall???
    thats what u should be doing


Shak says (18:14):
    commit? drive up the wall?
    you mean.... play around?
Shak says (18:15):
    how can you condone that
xxxx says (18:15):


xxxx says (18:15):
    not play around


Shak says (18:15):
    hey man
    lets go back to me being a slut
    you think i should?
    i think id make a good one
Shak says (18:16):
    but its unethical surely
xxxx says (18:16):
    yeah seriously
Shak says (18:16):
    how do you manage it?
xxxx says (18:16):
    god no
    its not
Shak says (18:16):
xxxx says (18:16):
    i just take a lot of pleasure in making men cry
Shak says (18:16):
    ive heard about girls like you
xxxx says (18:16):
Shak says (18:16):
    so go on
xxxx says (18:16):
    look its not my if guys fall in love with me
Shak says (18:16):
    be more specific
    you mean lead girls on
xxxx says (18:17):
Shak says (18:17):
    be a bit of a tease
xxxx says (18:17):
    i dont lead guys on
Shak says (18:17):
xxxx says (18:17):
    go out
Shak says (18:17):
    thats the same thing!
    leading on right?
xxxx says (18:17):
    flirting isnt a crime
    and it's not leading someone on
Shak says (18:17):
xxxx says (18:17):
    unless they are pathetic
Shak says (18:17):
    well thats teh ting
xxxx says (18:17):
    flirting is the way of the world
Shak says (18:17):
    girls are either pathetic
Shak says (18:18):
    or way out of my league :(
xxxx says (18:18):
    shut up
    no one is out of ur league
    thats stupid
    i dont believe in all the league crap
Shak says (18:18):
    peopel at the top usually dont :(
xxxx says (18:18):
    and anyone who actually thinks someone is too good for them seriously need to wake up
xxxx says (18:19):
    who ever thinks they are too good for someone seriously need a slap


xxxx says (18:23):
    i dont think anyone is out of ur league
    ur really hot
    and u have an awesome personality when u stop being such an ass
Shak says (18:23):
Shak says (18:24):
    its my ass that's teh best bit!!
    ... hello/

Wednesday, June 11

A Blog About Blogging

After a friend was asked to do a bit of writing, they thought that a conversation with me about my blog may help with their task (through a lack of any other option I'm guessing). My friend is one of those smarty types that knows how to both ask the right questions and hear the right answers. As such the conversation was as helpful for me as I hope it was for them; so much so that I felt it worth recording. We covered the following points:

  • A good topic to write about is one that has already been "road-tested" on friends, over a dinner conversation or something similar. Whatever we all find stimulating, engaging, thought provoking or even conflicting will likely make a good topic to write about.
  • It's not really important to have a complete ending or final conclusion. Personally, I don't write to provide answers and think it's sometimes more important to ask a useful and meaningful question as accurately as possible. A strategy I have for this is to use a copious amount of "in my opinions", "perhaps", "probablys" and "maybes".
  • Transparency and integrity is something not to be compromised on. For me honesty and accuracy are more important than tact or sensitivity (although it's totally possible to be all these things, of course).
  • There is no place for emotion or subjectivity when you're making a general or abstract point. Leave that for when you write about yourself, your memories or your own experiences.
  • When it is appropriate to convey an emotion or a reaction, then don't impose it on your reader. Let them conjure up their own, on their own terms.
  • Do not manipulate or abuse the one-way direction of communication. Don't think that just because readers can't feed back immediately that they don't have any.
  • The age old trick of writing for someone you don't know - a passer-by on the Tube for example - will help you communicate with the widest possible audience. Don't assume that your readers know you, have read what you may have written before or are mind readers. Be explicit, and don't force the reader to read between the lines since your writing is useless if they fail in doing so.
  • Similarly do not write for those who know you. Do not refer to specific people or events, do not name names. If you want to tell a friend something, then send them an e-mail.
  • Only write of the things that you're willing to tell everyone in the whole world about - that is your potential audience after all.
  • If you have a point to make, try to remove it from the particular example which prompted it. See if it applies abstractly.
  • The "road-test" with friends also provides structure to the post itself - it's important to accurately cover how a possible opinion is developed or a conclusion reached. This includes any wild examples or humour that came up - don't attempt to force these in retrospectively.
  • Try to preempt any questions the reader may have, either by answering them or if not possible, acknowledging them.
  • It's okay to write for a vacant audience - even if no one read these pages I'd probably carry on either to remember the past or just to get something out of my system - in fact some readers have even commented on how they like that attitude in what's written.
Of course these mainly just apply to myself and my writing. In fact, when they read some of my old stuff, my friend did comment on how my style had "matured" as time had gone on - so if anything these points are in flux anyway. Nevertheless there might be some generally useful points in there and I found it useful to have them distilled and extracted.

XKCD Click for more info

This takes me back to many debates we had during our A-levels, asking which subject was the most fundamental to our studies:

It was things like requiring Chemistry over Biology in order to apply for Medicine, or studying more Mechanics in Maths than Physics, or reducing a chemical reaction to a process involving charge that validated the above order for me.

And you know what? I still refer to myself as a mathematician rather than computer engineer (to the amusement of many).

Friday, June 6

Link of the Day Click for more info

Avoiding the Sex and the City deluge

The increasingly awesome Heather Mallick (from the CBC) does a much better job than me on why Sex and the City is a bad thing - and although I'm confident in the objectiveness of my opinion (despite the accusations I don't hate it just because I'm a man), it's nice to hear my opinions validated by a woman (although I suspect accusations will now turn to her being a big fat lesbian or something).

Yes, it's just a television show and yes I'm one to talk when it comes to accusing others of sleepwalking into thoughtless decadence, but the point still stands: it's worrying that Carrie et all are seen as inspiring role models by anyone.

XKCD Click for more info

Parts 4 and 5 of my now most favourite webcomic saga were released back to back this week. Click here and here to catch up on the previous Journal chapters.

Is this the end of the story? I suspect not; after all, it's not possible to really know someone completely... Is it?

Tuesday, June 3

Food: Chor Bizarre Click for more info

Another fancy Indian, but this time one that does really well. The hook in this case is the "thieves market" theme based on the word play from the restaurant's name itself, and there are no two tables, chairs or even light fitting alike in the place. That alone makes Chor Bizarre an interesting place in which to eat.

Thankfully the place doesn't just ride on it's decor; no, the food was pretty damned good too, with our fish and chicken curries hitting the spot perfectly. Rich in taste yet not that heavy on the stomach,

Service was good too, with us being given enough space to pick a meal and having our glasses topped up with tap water on, uh, tap. We even managed to order a dish (a paalak paneer) that wasn't on the menu - these guys were seriously interested in us having a good time rather than making a sale.

Given the quality of the place it was reasonably priced - our meal with no drinks came to around 22 quid per head, although we did get a 15% discount thrown in (I've no idea how authentic that was, but I took it at face value). Although the price places Chor Bizarre in the mid-range bracket it managed to out do most of the top end places I've visited. Recommended!