Wednesday, April 25, 2007

The Angel of the North

Had you not seen it yet then ?

It looks like it will finally happen. I now have an appointment with a fellow-DBA to go visit "The Angel" to have my piccie taken.

The folks here up north are mighty proud of this gignormous statue. although some say that the iron could also have been used to lay an extra railway track all the way to London. This welcoming Angel stands ready to embrace any Geordie thas has dared to venture down south and is now returning Home.

The structure is extremely visible from both road and rail, and is a great icebreaker. Especially on a busy train, the visiting foreigner should show admiration and awe when passing the Angel.

I tend to say something like "Wow, Indeed, it is Impressive. And Bigger then I thought it would be." One or more of the locals sitting around you will generally react along the lines of "Had you no seen it yet then ?", "you should visit it you know, Like." And this classic: "When it was only just put up, one night they dressed it in a Newcastle United footbal shirt, you know, with the black and white stripes like. Greet Stont, like."

And to show how friendly and open the folks here are, I had several invites: "It is very special you know. And, like, If you want, I can drive you up so you can have your picture taken."

Well, I now have one of those invites set in my agenda. And I hope to be able to show "me piccie" soon. Like. Looking forward to this memorable event!

Monday, April 23, 2007

Planning again.

This week will see Newcastle (work), York (ad-hoc dinner to catch up), Leeds (UKOUG, nice to go back to Leeds, and presenting a paper there too), Newcastle (regular job) and Home (to prepare next months presentations).

Next week will see some clever movements to maximize billable days.
Next month will see various trips to London and Midlands. Life is still interesting.

And we go through great lenghts to keep management and shareholders happy.

The trick is to be in the right country on the right day. To avoid the public holidays and maximize workable, revenue-generating time.

Also of note: the UKOUG has the call for papers out. If you want to go to Birminham, check HERE for your free entry.

This Image.
Just because I adore these Embrears. Sleek, Elegant, Flexible. And space for only 40 odd people, making it a more private experience then the 100 or more cattle herded aboard larger planes.

And you cannot board it via a jetway. You have to walk over real tarmac, through blistering sun or freezing cold, you get to feel rain and wind. You get to smell Rubber and Kerosine. You get to see this elegant piece of engineering from real close-up before you physically climb into it via a real staircase.

Inside, 2 out of every 3 seats are "Window" so you can always look out. In flight, the altitude is high enough to get above the clouds, and low enough to have nice vistas.

This is what travel is about.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

It's Just Not Cricket!

The following was brought to us via Chris.
If he is not developing Web-, SOAP-, Java- and XML-based solutions for various Customers of [multinational] or [high-tech-gurus] he is glued to his DataCard equipped Laptop to follow events in the Windies.

Over the past few weeks, the small islands of the West Indies have been
invaded by the Cricketing greats! One of the most eagerly awaited
matches of the tournament, namely England and South Africa, was a tragic
disaster for all but the Winners. Much had been said about this game.
The big spat between Graeme Smith, the South Africa captain, and Kevin
Peitersen, the ex-South African turned England number one batsman, was
hyped up in the media. Kevin was itching to take the fight to Smith,
who returned the favour by taking a superb catch at mid wicket to send
Pietersen on his way for just three runs! England's demise was firmly
on the cards and with only 154 runs on the board, the Big match was
turned into a display of school boy errors. With South Africa wielding
the bats for the second half, Smith and de Villiers set about
dispatching what the bowlers were offering. And with just one wicket
down, South Africa raced to 157 runs in less than 20 overs. How could
this be a tragic disaster I here you say? For starters England's hopes
of World Cup glory have been shredded. The supporters who followed
their teams to and anticipated strongly contested battle were left with
an empty afternoon and a ticket stub. The last few games are just a
formality. How the stands will be empty for all but Australia vs New
Zealand. The world wide television coverage and advertising revenues.
Big games get the big sponsors. With such a short second session,
television viewers started switching over. Lastly a disapointment for
the West Indies. The hotels will now be empty of Cricket fans, but for
those few supporters of the top four teams. The final game between
England and The West Indies a mere formality. A great day at the office
for the South Africans, who have been lacking form in the tournament,
but for a sad day for everybody else I'm afraid to say! Unless, like me
you are South African! So Come on Boys, bring home the Trophy!!!



Wednesday, April 11, 2007

The climate to travel

Would I have caused it ?

Does my weekly commute also contribute to this global-warming phenomenon ?

If so, then I will now do something very un-PC: I'm going to Enjoy a wee moment sitting in the sun on Quayside or Millenium-bridge to enjoy the weather.

I sometimes sit there till the sun sets...
Possibly reading or tweaking on my lappy for an article, a report or a bloggie, sometimes just feeling lucky while I still can.

Click on the "My View" link to the right, and see if you can spot me ...

Have a Good Day!

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

chocolate and jets

Chocolate, because everyone came back from Easter with a craving for more choccies. If you want to benefit from quality-chocolate regularly, join They have chocolate in many styles and flavours and will take your money to put gifts together for every occasion you fancy.

Or just ask someone who commutes to Belgium to bring you some supplies. It can be Intense and Sensational.

And Jets. My commute to work is hugely inconvenienced by the new flight-schedules introduced by my current carrier. would solve a lot of the hassle.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Jokes and sponsors

This should become the meta-page for jokes and funny-links. Jokes will attract traffic, which will make the sponsoros happy.

The local Brew in Toon-on-TynesideChris started it: he sent me a mail recently requesting to put jokes on the blog. I'll gladly oblidge. His first suggestion was very appropriate for Newcastle: it was a beer joke.

But as this blog is either about Travel (fun) or about my professional life (should also have a large fun-component), I'll try to limit the jokes to topics related to Travel.

More Jokes and Suggestion welcome.

Beer turns you into a Woman!

Last month, scientists released the results of a recent analysis that revealed the presence of female hormones in beer. Men should take a concerned look at their beer

The theory is that beer contains female hormones (hops contain phytoestrogens) and that by drinking enough beer, men turn into women.

To test the theory, 100 men drank 8 pints of beer each within a 1 hour period. It was then observed that 100% of the test subjects:

1) Argued over nothing.
2) Refused to apologize when obviously wrong.
3) Gained weight.
4) Talked excessively without making sense.
5) Became overly emotional.
6) Couldn't drive.
7) Failed to think rationally
8) Had to sit down while urinating.

No further testing was considered necessary.

Note by PdV: did they do a comparison-test by having 100 other men drink water ? or red wine ?

The next two jokes are shamelessly stolen from Mr Cockrane.

The Parrot
A young man named John received a parrot as a gift. The parrot had a bad attitude and an even worse vocabulary. Every word out of the bird's mouth was rude, obnoxious and laced with profanity. John tried and tried to change the bird's attitude by consistently saying only polite words, playing soft music and anything else he could think of to "clean up" the bird's vocabulary.
Finally, John was fed up and he yelled at the parrot. The parrot yelled back. John shook the parrot and the parrot got angrier and even ruder.

John, in desperation, threw up his hand, grabbed the Bird and put him in the freezer. For a few minutes the parrot squawked and kicked and screamed. Then suddenly there was total quiet. Not a peep was heard for over a minute. Fearing that he'd hurt the parrot, John quickly opened the door to the freezer.

The Parrot calmly stepped out onto John's outstretched arms and said "I believe I may have offended you with my rude language and actions. I'm sincerely remorseful for my inappropriate transgressions and I fully intend to do everything I can to correct my rude and unforgivable behaviour." John was stunned at the change in the bird's attitude. As he was about to ask the parrot what had made such a dramatic change in his behaviour, the bird continued, "May I ask what the turkey did?"

Maxims for the Internet Age

  • Home is where you hang your @
  • The e-mail of the species is more deadly than the mail
  • Speak softly and carry a cellular phone
  • Too many clicks spoil the browse
  • The geek shall inherit the earth
  • What boots up must come down
  • Virtual reality is its own reward
  • A user and his leisure time are soon parted
  • There's no place like
  • Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach him to use the Net and he won't bother you for weeks

  • Monday, April 02, 2007

    Dunes, Wind, Sand, Beaches

    The past weekend was spent on a family reunion and a visit to my roots.

    We hit the area before the Easter holiday rush had started, and it was lovely, quiet, and very relaxing. Get an impression of the scenery Here

    A recommended Break or Holiday destination. But to really benefit from it: Avoid the peak-times.


    This is the footer...and this should be small text for disclaimers and the like. and some small stuff

    Locations of visitors to this page And this text is placed next to the map. we could possibly hide some stuff here too for the benefit of the search-engines and if it is at color ffffff cam we put all sort of rubbish that we do not want readers to see. travel itinirary reservation ticket agent flight plane boarding attendant train connection rail ticket wait time booking flight boardingtime taxi ramp luggage suitcase trolley wheely laptop bagpack corpaorate wifi connection oracle. it will also be interesting to see what happens when this wrap around. or even if we put in spherus and worwood as additional word.