Sunday, February 28, 2010

Tiramisu? or styrofoam?

I had the worst ever Tiramisu at Via Restaurant in Worcester this weekend. It was basically a square creation of lady-fingers sandwiched together with the cream they use in canolli. Bland, boring, no coffee or alcohol in sight. Call themselves an Italian restaurant! The pastry chef should be ashamed of his/herself.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Birthday Meal at Romaine's restaurant

Had a nice meal out tonight at Romaines restaurant in Northborough to celebrate my birthday. Its amazing that we've lived in this area for 9 years and have only recently discovered this restaurant. Its a very nice place, good size with a lively bar area. For appetizers Tony had Maine crab cakes (jonah crab, pan-seared with corn salad and chipotle mayo) and I had mixed greens ( a salad of organic mesclun greens, stilton cheese, spiced pecans and roasted-pear vinaigrette). For our entree I had North Atlantic haddock with potato gratin, asparagus spears and tarragon cream, and Tony had some fancy chicken salad thing. All washed down with a bottle of Fess Parker Syrah. Scrummy. I was even too full for dessert. Left the restaurant just as the snow started to fall.

Under pressure

It always surprises me how music gets re-released years after its initial incarnation to a whole new audience. My daughter loves the "latest" music from the gruesome-twosome known as Jedward. Its called "Under Pressure - Ice-Ice Baby" or something similar. How surprised she was to see that I had the Queen/David Bowie version on my "Ultimate 80's" CD.

Here's the original in all its glory, with the late but very great Freddie Mercury. This is from his Kind of Magic tour, which I went to see in Wembley Stadium, London.

Followed by the Jedward version...a pale imitation in my opinion

Saturday, February 20, 2010

This man's a fool!

Just been watching a recording of the British show "Big Fat Quiz of the Year". Now, being in the US, we don't get to see much of British "celebrities", but we do read about them and their antics. Russell Brand was one of the contestants on this show. I had heard of him and his radio show, and I had formed an opinion of him as an outspoken, controversial, but basically sharp-witted person. However after seeing him on this show I can only say how wrong I was. Sharp-witted? More like Dim-witted. What an irritating idiot this man is! He has been quoted as saying "I`m repulsed by men" - Russell, after watching you for an hour I can relate to that!

Shopping and stuff...

Had a couple of days off from work, making for a nice long weekend. Yesterday we spent a few hours wandering around the Natick Mall ("Natick Collection"). It amazes me that some of these designer stores can still be in business. They are all the same, laid out in an artsy fashion, with limited stock and one, bored looking assistant pacing the floor desperate for a customer. Can anyone afford to spend $500 on a skirt nowadays? Whereas I'm not likely to be snapped for the "People of Walmart" website (, I have a limit to what I will spend on something that will be out of fashion this time next year. I do, however, like handbags, especially those from Coach, and luckily bags seem to be "the" fashion accessory of the moment. You will not, however, see me in a pair of Uggs, not in this lifetime ....

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Management Bollocks

I am struggling to keep up with all the "management-speak" at my place of work. It seems that every week some new phrase creeps in to the conversations. I fell victim to jargon this past week when I was asked what would be attributes of my quality scorecard, and I didn't have a clue how to answer. Now put it in a normal sentence such as, "What would be some metrics that we could use as an indicator of your project's quality" or something similar, and I would've known what was being asked. Other jargon that I encounter in my job almost daily are: lets socialize it at the all-hands, we need to assess the value-stream, get off your bike and hit the ground running, let's pareto the data, We really need to push the envelope on this one, 360-degree feedback, lets put that on the parking lot for now, we need to attack the low-hanging fruit.....its endless.

I have a cool book called Management Bollocks. Here's a couple of my favorite entries:

Reinvigorate your family life by importing positive management models into the home:
Introduce total Quality management into mowing your lawn.
Implement Key Performance Indicators for the cleaning lady.
Write a mission statement for the milkman.
Outsource your children. Downsize your spouse, Re-engineer your cat.

Your organization's core competencies must be protected at all costs. If you're not sure whether your organization has any core competencies, bring in outside consultants. (To pay for outside consultants, it may be necessary to close down your core competencies).

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Class reunion

My old High School is having a reunion in April. Unfortunately I will not be able to attend as I will be on travel with my job. I'm not sure if that is a blessing or not. Reunions are a strange thing. They are frightening and fascinating all at the same time. I do know that they are probably the most effective diet incentive you will ever have!

I went to one about 15 years ago. It was actually held in our old school, which was a very odd feeling indeed. Standing in our old sixth form common room drinking beer, talking to people who look vaguely familiar, but are really strangers. The funny thing is, each of us knows that we are not the same person that attended school all those years ago, yet we all judge each other based on that memory. The boy who used to tease the girls, the class bitch, the stud....they are all there in the room with you, and even though they have become the lawyer, the teacher and the doting father, you can't help but see them as they were. School either love them or you hate them. Having said that, I'm on the fence :-)

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Here, there and everywhere

Got a busy year coming up, travel-wise. In March I am going to Texas for a few days (just outside Dallas). In April, I have a weeks vacation in San Antonio, TX during Fiesta week, followed by a week in Orlando with work, at the Disney Contemporary resort. In June I am in Ireland, in October and again in November I am in Tucson, Arizona. I also have one trip to Los Angeles, and one to St Petersburg, Florida scattered somewhere in between the others. And I have yet to decide where to go in August! Jet setter or what?


Happy Valentine's Day to all you romantics out there. And to the rest of us, Happy Sunday!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Happy Anniversary!

Its one year ago today that I created this blog. In one year I have had over 4000 visitors from 63 different countries. In 2009 I wrote a jaw-dropping 238 posts, with the most occurring in April (30) and the least in July (14). I have commented on the weather, sports, vacation destinations, birthdays, schools, soaps, exercise & diets, chocolate, restaurants, cars, University, kids playgrounds, Hannah Montana, swine flu, Orthodontics, concerts, Bejeweled Blitz, Dunkin Donuts, Conkers, shopping, Winker jeans, bulimic cats, apple picking, Michael Jackson, Halloween, recession, puberty, kitchen appliances, Dolly Parton, Welsh sheep, haircare and St Winnifred's school choir. No wonder I'm running out of things to blog about. I will have to get my thinking cap on if I want to achieve similar results this year. All ideas gratefully received....

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Necessity is the mother of invention

Today in our works cafeteria there was a display of inventions from over the ages, primarily from African American inventors. It was pretty interesting, with artifacts such as refrigerators, various toys, particular kinds of light bulbs etc. However I was a little perplexed by one exhibit. It was the invention of the sanitary belt! What on earth were the organizers of this event thinking when they decided to display that particular exhibit? Anyway, I was not surprised in the least to see that this uncomfortable, impractical, ugly contraption had been invented by a man. Figures...

What? More snow?

Waiting for the big snow storm to reach us tomorrow. Washington got badly hit earlier this week, now its our turn. The schools have already stated their intention to close early. Should be blizzard conditions by this time tomorrow night. And there was me thinking we were over the hump, snow-wise. I guess we have at least another month or so of this weather before we are done. Ho-hum.

I'm in the minority

The New Orleans Saints' Super Bowl victory over the Indianapolis Colts has become the most-watched program in US TV history, early figures show.
A record 106.5 million people watched the game last weekend, out of a total US population of 308 million.

So I'm still in the majority, i.e. people who did not watch the game. However I am probably in a very small minority of people who didn't even realize that the Superbowl was on this past weekend! I was more interested to find out that BBC America was showing the Six Nations rugby last Saturday. Super bowl? What Super bowl?