Blog Life

Stealing the mayor’s identity

Friday, April 29, 2005

Normally, the TV news round here is a mixture of the banal and the depressing – a lot of drunk-driving judges and gang-related shootings (in Albuquerque, I should stress, not up here).

But last night KOBTV – the local NBC affiliate – put together some fantastic stories.

First we had the story of a Clovis school that was put on lockdown while police searched for a student seen entering the school with a 2 and a half foot long object wrapped in cloth. It turned out to be a giant burrito:

Then came the NM academic who’s been getting death threats for suggesting that at some point in the future, California, Arizona, NM and parts of Texas, Colorado and Mexico would break away to form their own country – La Republica del Norte.

And finally, the real kicker: TV journalist Mark Horner was not content with giving his credit card to his colleagues and getting them to buy stuff with it (including copies of a book by Horner himself, and a guide to preventing identity theft), so he borrowed the mayor of Albuquerque’s card.

We watched as mayor Martin Chavez handed over the card, and Horner went round the corner to buy a $70 sweatshirt with ‘Albuquerque’ written on it. The shop assistant looked at the card, and said, ‘Oh, you have the same name as our mayor.’ No kidding.

In none of the places did anyone even check the signature (Target even said that they don’t tell their checkout people to check any more). Actually in The Gap, the female production assistant was using Horner’s card, and she was asked for ID. She just said it was her husband’s card, and that was fine.

Compared to Europe, where signatures were always checked, and chip-and-pin technology now means you have to enter a PIN for each transaction, things here are really shoddy. But at least Albuquerque’s mayor is a good sport.

The companies’ reactions:

Posted by David in • Life

Accidental Pilgrim Blog

Talk about Writers’ Websites

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

In my unlikely capacity as both a professional writer and a professional website developer, I’ve been asked to talk to the New Mexico branch of the writers’ group PEN, on the subject of writers’ websites.

It’s next Tuesday, May 2nd, at 3pm in the Wheelwright Museum on Museum Hill in Santa Fe.

There’ll be slides and examples (of my sites and others), as well as refreshments and the like. All are welcome.

Posted by David in • Accidental Pilgrim

Blog Life

UK election looms

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

There’s a general election in the UK on May 2nd. Although I was born and raised in England, and still have my UK passport, I don’t get a vote now I’m out of the country (which is as it should be).

But I’ve been following the campaign, and it’s clear that while Labour look likely to get back in, the most important thing is the shift to the right they’ve adopted to get them re-elected.

The Lib Dems (formerly the centrist party) have now become the most left-wing party, and Blair’s government is looking more centre-right than European-style Social Democratic.

A great way to see the issues laid out for you is to take the quiz on the Who Should You Vote For? site. Agree or disagree with the main policies laid out by one or other of the parties during the campaign, and see which of them you’re most sympathetic to.

Unsurprisingly, I’m now a solid Lib Dem – as I would be if I got a vote. The more frightening thing is that I disagree less with the UK Independence Party than I do with Labour (although I think this is probably due to the UKIP only having one policy to disagree with – the UK’s withdrawal from Europe – while Labour have several policies not to like)

You should vote: Liberal Democrat

Posted by David in • Life

Blog Life

What’s it like running a family yoga centre, then?

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Friday, April 22, 2005

Just want to direct you to a great article by my sister Uma on the work that she’s doing running a yoga centre in London:

About sixty med students in a giant gym are being spun around in a strange form of holistic therapy circuit-training. In addition to the Sitaram mini yoga class set up in one corner, there is Nick the acupuncturist from the Gateway clinic needling everybody’s ears, a massage therapist in the back of the hall teaching Indian head massage, Yinka the oesteopath manipulating spines behind some screens, and Ilena the homeopath holding court in the lecture theatre.

After initial introductions, the doctors in training spend twenty-five minutes in turn with each of us, moving from one practitioner to the next. When they get to the yoga mats and realise they can take off their shoes and lie down, they all decide they love it the best, and seem fascinated to discover how the yoga they are doing can be modified and adapted for everyone from a three day old baby through to an ageing ex marathon runner with chronic lower back problem and shoulders so stiff he can’t lift his arms. I tell them all about the nursery class earlier in the week, and emphasise the benefits of yogic breath and relaxation. They don’t take much convincing. It is a great event to be part of: sowing seeds of positive yoga therapeutic experience for our future generations of doctors.

The full article is here, on my sister’s site.

Posted by David in • Life


Blog Life

Bumper Stickers

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

This town loves its bumper stickers – and there are many different sorts.

Firstly, there’s the Euro-tastic country-code stickers beloved of expats. So you’re Swiss, and you make sure you’ve got a CH sticker on your car, or a GB (most often seen on the back of Land Rovers), or SW (most often seen on the back of Volvos) or any number of other ones.

Here I must confess, we’re no different. There’s an IRL sticker waiting to go on the bumper of the CRV. When I worked in the Silicon Valley for an Irish company, my time on the commute down the 101 from San Francisco was spent watching all the Euro stickers go past. Given all the Irish folks in our company, people used the county stickers for extra granulation – so I knew it was Ronan’s black Civic coupe because it had the three towers of Dublin on the back.

The second main category are the political ones, from the mainstream Democratic Party ones, through the subtle anti-Bush ones (a W with a line through it), to the more outspoken ones:

‘Somewhere in Texas, a village is missing its idiot’

‘Where are we going, and why am I in this handbasket?’

‘I believe in the separation of Church and Hate’

Then there’s the range of spiritual/slightly hippy ones (often seen on the backs of ancient Subarus):

‘Visualize turn signals’

‘Visualize World Peace’

‘Visualize Whirrled Peas’

‘Dog is my co-pilot’

There’s plenty more out there, so when I see some good ones, I’ll stick in a comment. And you’re welcome to do the same.

Posted by David in • Life

Blog Life

The blogging’s back

Sunday, April 17, 2005

I’m back blogging again. Spent a chunk of the weekend rebuilding this site – I hope you like it.

There’s more to do (tweaking the header graphic, getting the XHTML to validate), but with luck it will prove a stable and happy home for a while to come.

You might notice a lot of dodgy comments still kicking around. When I imported the blog entries and articles from the old system to the new, it brought the comments along for the ride.

But don’t despair – the new comment entry system is much more spam-proof, so I’ve switched the commenting on for new entries – feel free to leave me a note.

And I’ll be pruning the old comment spam soon.

Posted by David in • Life