Blog Archives

Airport shops – a Poll


I sometimes think that airport shops are simply there to prey on the captive audience which is standing around, bored, waiting for a plane. I always laugh when they ask me to show my boarding card – even if I tell them I’m not leaving the EU and therefore have to pay the VAT, not that it makes any difference most of the time if you are leaving the EU – it’s like you’re getting privileged treatment to be able to pay a few dozen percent more than you’d pay on the highstreet.

It works a bit like hotels. The posher they are, the more they rip you off with overpriced minibars, extra for internet, and nonsense like that. The same Cialdini-ism seems to be used in reverse by these airport shops, in that they think that if they treat you like rubbish and overcharge you, then you’ll feel like you are in a privileged setting and that it behoves you to shell out for things you probably didn’t even want or need in the first place.

Some places are worse than others, but the airports that will actually give you some kind of bargain seem to be in the minority, an increasing small minority.

One time in Prague airport I wanted to buy a deodorant as it was a hot day and I didn’t normally carry a toilet bag as I had a flat in Prague with that job. I was asked by the sullen saleswoman if Warsaw was my final destination. I quipped that I hoped not, as I hoped to go to heaven one day. At this her eyes clouded over, she just took the purchase out of the bag, placed it on a little shelf in her booth and refused to serve me.

Evidently I had offended against the culture of the Czech Republic. I knew they were the most atheistic country in the world, I just didn’t realise they were so religious about it.

What’s your experience with airport shops? Do you tend to use them or not?

The Polyglot Project Update


I understand that the download from DocsStocs made by Claude Cartaginese has now reached into over 5,000 downloads, with also many other sources of this document appearing also on the web as people share it freely as intended, so that the full number of downloads may be as high as 10,000 or more.

The Polyglot Project - 42 contributors, 534 pages, including the whole background to the Goldlist Methodology and how I came to invent it.

Set against that, though is the fact that not nearly so many paper copies have been ordered. The only place they can be ordered is Amazon in America, not the UK Amazon as yet, and the link to the product is embedded on the thumbnail.

If you would like a book worth in fact over 50 USD if it had not be gifted by over 40 volunteers each telling how they managed to learn multiple languages for less than 17 dollars, and also support Uncle Claude who had to fork out some of his private lolly on making the first bunch of paper books that are not selling, even though people have been eager to take the free version, then either click on the link here (which gives you the same price and I think I’m on 6% without costing you any more) or if you don’t want to give me 6% but still pay the same, then find the link just by going normally to Amazon.com and searching for it.

If you read the e-version and liked it, why not buy the paper version as a gift for someone else? It will always be possible to get a free version of this booki, but the printed one is very nice too and a good use of seventeen dollars, so please let’s be having a few more purchases of it.

 

DND – 24/1/2011 I never expected my cat to puke all over me while I slept…


Cat Sick

… but nevertheless that’s what happened last night. I don’t think he meant anything by it as I have never received this treatment at his hands, or paws, before.

But it did give my wife the excuse she needed not only to change the bedding, but also to reorganise all the furniture in the bedroom, so that the cabinet my grandfather made (probably from twocked materials as he was a bit of a wide boy by all accounts) is now on my side of the bed, and the Japanese step cabinet from reclaimed teak is on my wife’s side. This apparently creates a lot of space, although I will have to see how I feel about it after I have put it to the test by sleeping there, which will happen in the not too distant future. but first I have to watch Lost

Diary of a New Decade #2 – 3rd January 2011


The Treaty of Rome signing ceremony, at the Pa...

The signing of the treaty of Rome on the Capitoline hill, Rome. The reincarnation of the Roman Empire under the selfsame people who signed in Philadelphia.

If all goes well, this will be another technological first for me – this time the first post written on and posted from a train.

Anyone who has spent any time on my You Tube channel will know that I have made a number of films on trains before. In point of fact, I have made films on this very route before, on more than one occasion.
But right now, as my Creative Vado got wrecked by my son before Christmas while my wife was in hospital getting her mitoxantrone, I don’t even carry a camera, although this phone also has one and produced the shots of our New Years Day meal that you can see a couple of posts ago on this very blog.

But that is not the same as a dedicated HD video camera. So I did order another Vado, especially as I had just bought a lens kit for it and a couple of other accessories. The problem is that Amazon won’t ship electric goods to Poland. As a US company, they couldn’t care less about the free movement of goods in the EU enshrined in the Treaty of Rome. They probably respect all their own constitutional stuff very well, but have no idea how insulting it is to Europeans to have our highest laws entirely disregarded by US corporations doing business here. So I would have had to buy the replacement camera from the online creative.pl store, where it costs more than twice as much as in the UK Amazon.

So I bought it from Amazon, and asked my parents to send it on. Hence the shipment time has been doubled. It should arrive any day now, though.

Back to this train journey – I am in one of those good trains, an Atrocity, or whatever it is they call them, but this one seems to be stopping in fields every ten minutes.this may have something too do with the snow, but this train came to Warsaw from Krakow and arrived right on time.

I am supposed to be going to Tczew for a stocktake. This is the sixth year I have done this stocktake at this place at this time. In the first four years I drove up by car and that would take a big effort. One of those years I found myself driving through the thickest blizzard I have been in outside Russia. And then finally I started to use the train and things got a lot safer. You can complain about delays, but at least you don’t usually end up dead as often as you do in a car when conditions are treacherous.

And one thing’s for certain: there’s no way I could have written this post while behind the wheel of a moving car!

Diary for a New Decade #1 – 1st January 2011


Butterbrotes with caviar of trout

They were not unlike these wikipedia ones, but on toast instead of bread and cheese.

So here I am embarking on the first of many posts for this year. I woke up ridiculously late this morning, in fact I’m not sure that morning is actually the correct word to use, and the first thing that I thought about was to make sure that I drank coffee before breakfast because we had planned to use the red caviar that my wife’s sister recently brought from Russia for our first breakfast in the year.

Now I don’t know about you, but personally I don’t like drinking coffee straight after eating red caviar. Or black caviar for that matter with the slight proviso that I don’t buy black caviar. I worry too much about the plight of the sturgeon, and also I don’t even like it as much as I like the red caviar which comes from the salmon, and is not endangered in the way that sturgeon-derived caviar is. It is a little bit endangered but then so is everything little bit endangered. Whereas sturgeons are more than a little bit endangered.

So I took my coffee without sugar, and perceived on my weight loss initiative. I should say that I weighed in last night just before midnight at 131.6 kg.  This means that in 2010 I lost the grand total of 0.4 kgs. Before you laugh and pour scorn upon my weight loss efforts, I have to say this is a bigger success than you might think. I am perfectly capable of adding on 40 kg in the course of a year just be eating what I feel like and not watching what I am about. So all I really need to do is redouble my efforts and there should be a healthy weight loss. Anyhow the target is 101,6 for the year – a loss of 30 kg.

But I decided not to be weighing myself every day or week, I decided to make that a monthly event. For the first month to be on track I need to lose about 4 or 5 kg. It does slow down as a diet progresses, you see. I will not be crash dieting, just burning more by walking instead of using the car (which remains unrepaired while I get my teeth repaired, which appears to be a long-term construction project) and having smaller portions. The key is to avoid the things which are simply empty calories, to eat less at meals so that I still think I probably haven’t eaten enough when I push away from the table, to leave food when given too large portions, to order fewer courses, and to drink water instead of juice or anything with calories in it.

Calories taken in as fluid are a particularly deceptive thing – you don’t feel full but you’ve had some of your food allowance.

Anyway, I did some Czech Goldlist and then went for a walk with my son, George. He is a bit snuffly so it was a short walk. The weather is about plus 2 outside but there’s a bit of a wind so the so-called chill factor was much in evidence. I listened to the Michel Thomas advanced Japanese course a bit while walking. I do think it’s very good despite some of the mean reviews it had on Amazon.co.uk. One person didn’t get on with the presenter’s Irish accent, but I find it quite endearing, so I do. I know Paddy O’Donohue would love it. He would probably be wanting Niamh to be his colleen if he wasn’t already wanting Enya to be. 

And then I came home and had some soup and one of my wife’s ‘kotlyety’ (Russian meatballs) and then it was now!

Hopefully that wasn’t too boring, as there’s plenty more where that came from, so there is…

Reunchaining the melody


   
 
 
 

Playout date:    11 September 2006
Location:    Home, Ochota
Other people featured: None
Music used:    Karaoke track of Unchained Melody by the Righteous Brothers
Languages used:    English
Animals featured:    None

 

This is probably the most disliked-to-liked video in my whole history of fillummakering, and it is not hard to see why. The rendition is dire. There’s no other word for it. But this stays in as proof of my dogged determination not to flinch at criticism, but to let it happen!

This melody became famous because of the film “Ghost” but this version is much more eery and spooky than the one that Demi Moore is listening to when she makes her pot!

Huliganov’s Winter Tips for the British


Windbeeches on the Schauinsland in Germany (Bl...

Bowed under by too much snow?

I see on the news that the UK is in for another bout of what they are calling “extreme weather conditions“, by which they mean the sort of weather which is absolutely normal anywhere from about Berlin eastwards. Since that’s where I live, I thought it would be a good service to the British people to give you at this time my observations on how Poles, Russians and others in a climate that seems to be causing a lot of ructions as it moves across the Britain. It seems that these colder winters are not going to go away as far as the UK is concerned and so you may as well get used to them. I have about 20 East European winters on my climatic CV, so my experience is something which may be of use to you.

Dress

  • The first item is dress. There’s a Russian saying “Нет плохой погоды, есть только плохая одежда” – that means “There’s no such thing as bad weather, there is only bad dress”. And the thing to go for is many layers of clothing rather than a few layers of what appear to be warm clothing. If you’re going to work in an office which may be well heated, you do not want to be sweaty all day long so you don’t need to have anything more money that you can’t take off when you get there. That’s the disadvantage of thermal vests.  A jumper on the other hand can be taken off quite easily.  The scarf is very important because that protects the throat which can be an Achilles heel. It is better than a beard as the beard will make a person feel too warm in a heated location. A decent hat is critical as 30% of heat loss goes from the head. A hat with flaps that can be brought down to cover the ears is particularly useful as you will not want to walk around with your ears uncovered once the temperature goes below about -6°C.  Really big headphones can also be helpful to keep the ears warm, but in extremes of cold you can also damage the headphones, although I will say that I haven’t yet. On that note digital cameras need to be used sparingly when its cold, as I have ruined one that way, on stocktakes. Read the rest of this entry
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