1. Interesting article on BBC News about the call centre industry. Analysts reckon that even though more and more big businesses are likely to move their call centres to India or South Africa, the size of the sector is likely to increase from 400,000 jobs today to 600,000 jobs in 2008. Can't see where these new jobs are going to come from, but they're analysts and I'm not so I'm minded to generally believe them. I wonder (not very seriously) what it would be like to emigrate to India?
2. Dad had his 65th birthday yesterday, so I am now living with two OAP parents. (He's still looking to try to do about a day's lecturing a week, though.) We went out to the Southern Cross pub for lunch; Dad had roast pork (fatty, not very good), Mum had salmon (better than supermarket salmon) and I had steak fajitas (decent, but not very inspiring).
It didn't help that the chef cocked up the timing and served my soup starter (very tasty, but a vending machine-ish consistency) at the same time as the main course and couldn't really rectify the situation. Possibly the least worst thing to have done would have been to take the soup back and serve me a new portion as an intermediate course after finishing off the sizzling fajitas, but I didn't think of this at the time. To be fair, they did refund the price of the soup and let me have it anyhow.
For pudding, we polished off a communal trough (not literally) of ice cream and so forth between the three of us. It was a slightly more imaginitive dish than usual for featuring a big chunk o' vaguely-fudgey chocolate cake in the middle and three profiteroles on the top, but it all ended up overwhelmingly chocolatey and anonymous. Why has the inclusion of fruit cocktail and a variety of different fruit ice creams for a good old-fashioned Knickerbocker Glory gone rather out of fashion?
Anyway, after the meal, I ended up with some sort of pain between two of my teeth - the sort of thing where you wonder whether it's legitimate toothache, just something stuck there or the like. All well this morning and even pushing the dubious area and the teeth around there with my tongue causes no problems so I shall ascribe it to the sort of temporary hardware error that my Prime95 installation claimed to be experiencing on Friday.
3. Harking back to last night's rant, the UK version of "Singled Out" once asked a lady contestant whether she preferred her men to be flyweights or pieweights, which was by far the wittiest question they ever asked. I suspect that after the abovementioned meal and far too many birthday treats for teatime I have now moved up a division into the ranks of the super pieweights.
4. The Dickson family now own a DVD player. Mum gave Dad money to buy a watch for their silver wedding anniversary five years ago, but Dad never spent it and parlayed it forward to this DVD player purchase. Naturally Dad didn't have a clue about the region encoding system, they didn't explain anything about it in the shop and so Dad ended up with a Sony DVP-NS305. Anyone who sees that jumple of letters and numbers, thinks "Netscape 3.05, ooeurgh" and shudders has clearly been in the web game for far too long.
I shall have to investigate to see whether there are in-built codes which will make it l33t. This is on principle, naturally, though I don't think we will actually end up importing DVDs from other regions, recording from DVD to VHS or any of the other things that you can do. We haven't opened the DVD player and tried it out yet, not least because we don't own any DVDs. I'm rather less interested in films than most, but there are three on TV this week that I will probably watch: The Empire Strikes Back (Special Edition), The Matrix and Rogue Trader.
5. Mum is impressed by an advert on TV at the moment for the Prudential insurance company. The punchline is along the lines of "If there's a fire in my house, forget the silver and gold and save the photographs". Mum was talking about this advert during a commercial break yesterday, even asking me to try to record a copy of it for future record. (Damn, we should have bought a TiVo, not a DVD player.) What was the next advert to come on TV? Well, it wasn't quite the same advert Mum was talking about, but at least it was an advert for the Pru's services. (The one where the man backs a losing greyhound.) Quite a cute coincidence. No, this wasn't the frequent situation where you get two adverts for the same company as bookends in the same ad-break and the presence of the first acts as a trigger for discussion - this was a complete fluke that we would discuss an advert only for a closely related one to appear immediately afterwards. WATCOTH, eh?
6. There is no number 6. It was the tickling yourself with a feather duster thing, but I was so enchanted with it that I decided to spin it off into its own entry. It's just weird, man.
7. black_dog is new to LJ, but if he continues to make insightful, fascinating posts like this one on "How do boys bond?" then he will be a very valuable member indeed. Go check it out!
8. songmonk persuaded me to play in the twelfth World Rec.Gambling Poker Tournament. It's a cashless no-limit Texas Hold'Em poker tournament played by e-mail. We're in a practice round at the moment and I am sold on the concept. It works properly. Still time to sign up (it shouldn't be too late yet, despite what the page says) if you like the sound of things because the implementaion does seem to realise the concept's promise. I do hope that I don't end up on a table with someone whose LJ I read already.
9. Watched International King of Sports last night; my, that is a silly show. Last night's events were Backwards Sprint, Underwater Shot Put, High Board Long Jump, International Skids and Men's Individual Fall Down. Underwater Shot Put was exactly what it said on the tin, a tremendous spectacle just to see people control their breathing properly and perform the act at all. Men's Individual Fall Down was a contest to see who could react fastest to a gunshot by smacking their face onto a mat, generally chin-first. (It was run as a two-heat event; heat one saw three contestants participating, the first two to complete making it to the final.) Looked fantastic but the winner expressed considerable discomfort in the jaw region - definitely a "don't try this one at home, kids" moment.
High Board Long Jump was fantastic. People run ten metres along a three-metre diving board and then jump into the water, jumping as far away from the board as possible and hoping to clear the designated "minimum distance required" tape, high jump style. Magic. You couldn't make it up. The show gets lots of silly little things right, like shooting all the pool-based games in a heavy rainstorm, like declaring with bravado that the event had a television audience of "400 billion", like sending up the conventions of event nomenclature with spurious subdivisions, like the evidently tiny budget and most of all like Alan Parry's commentary. Best line last night, in the High Board Long Jump, was "Some technical problems with the second phase there" when the action involved barely has one phase let alone two. Ever-so-faintly disgraceful, but it gets away with it as if a "Superstars"/"Banzai" crossover. Seven out of ten at least. Probably very unlikely to receive a second series, so lap the first one up.
10. Was feeling pretty down late last night. There are a couple of annoying jobs in the way at the moment which I really have to do first - two related reports to write, a load of MSO web site updates now more than a month overdue and a room to tidy - before I can get on with useful things related to working on a CV and trying to get my life in order. (No, they really must get finished first, to be honest.) I'm procrastinating and putting off those jobs really quite badly at the moment. Hey ho. Am feeling more productive today, but crunch time will come once I actually try and get started on them. We'll see...