Birthday, birthday, birthday

Celebrated my birthday with a girls night out on Friday – went to Tiroler Hut at Bayswater, where the service was exceptionally friendly, the food was excellent (as was the weissbier) and I was serenaded an Austrian style ‘happy birthday’ by the restaurant’s one-man-accordian-playing-band! Went on to The Cow pub nearby afterwards, where there’s a wide range of Belgian beers offered.

Saturday was spent creatively experimenting with fruit cocktails (a particular talent of Keith’s) before hitting the Frog and Forget Me Not in Tooting for a few beers and delicious thai curry. Sunday was Heather’s birthday – went to Chutney Marys for a 3 course indian Sunday dinner, followed by an afternoon drinking sesh at the Greene Room, Chelsea. Now, that’s what I call a pretty good weekend!

Here’s a photo from Fri eve at Tiroler Hut: (l-r) me, Janice, Shepster, Heather, Vicky and Poppy.

No war today, please

Right, got the obligatory anti-war bit over with. Can’t bring myself to rant yet today – feeling far too rough. A weekend recap should explain:

Friday: Work drinks at 4pm to celebratecommiserate the departure of Mike, a friend and drinking buddy. This continued, more or less, until 6pm. Then to The Tyburn, a pub I’ve linked once before and don’t feel any further need to promote. Then to the Mason’s Arms, which is worth promoting but unfortunately I can’t remember the name of the street so can’t find. Many beers later, an “entertaining” taxi ride home with Mike and Sue,and then birthday gift presentation to Lou, who arrived 10 minutes or so after me from her drunken evening with the girls.

Saturday involved Lou opening her other presents (it was her birthday…incase you hadn’t guessed) and then much laziness, interspersed with a trip to the post office and some clothes shopping (Lou), and the production of many fruity alcoholic drinks for consumption on the premises (me). Later in the evening, we ventured beyond the front door and hotfooted it to the Frog & Forget-me-not for a few beers and some fantastic Thai food. I very much like the place, but a hint to and F&F-m-n staff who might read this:

Spraying the table with that smelly cleaning stuff might well be a good way to clear the conservatory at last orders (time at 10:45 – don’t get me started) but it’s fucking obnoxious. Don’t do it.

Sunday was Heather’s birthday, so it was off to Chutney Mary for an extremely enjoyable and tasty selection of curried goodness, several beers and a short disagreement over the bill. This was amicably solved, but the manager did seem to think he was being generous by removing the bottle of wine we hadn’t received from the bill, and amending the prices of the wine we’d received to that of the wines we’d asked for.

The day was completed by an afternoon in a pub which memory somewhat fuzzily identifies as the Greene Room, but I can’t seem to find any references to it soo…its right next to Stamford Bridge, Chelsea FC’s home ground. Not the site of the battle. Then, later, home and (oh no) a kebab.

Monday: ow, ow, ow, eurrrgh.

POWs and reporting standards

UPDATED 27/3/2003: I receive news updates from quite a few different tech news site, and from an article on one of them I discovered that the Arab TV station/network Al Jazeera has a new English-language version of their website [note that, at present, the site seems slow/down]. I haven’t had time to read the site thoroughly, but a couple of things stood out.

I read this article on the treatment of POWs which I found most interesting from two different perspectives. Firstly, it seems to address the point I made in yesterday’s post, but based entirely on the current conflict. I’ve seen footage of Iraqi soldiers handcuffed, kneeling, in rows & rows. Depending on how far you want to take “degrading”, there’s a picture on the BBC website of a handcuffed prisoner being “given a drink” i.e. having water from a canteen poured over his face. Now this isn’t cruel, and I’m sure the POW concerned was probably grateful for some water, but is the image degrading? I’m not sure, but it could be.

In any case, it does bring the question of hypocrisy up again.

UPDATE: There’s now an article on BBCi about this very topic, which features the picture – it’s here.

UPDATE: I can’t seem to find that image on the BBC website – either I’m getting my news sites mixed up, or they’ve pulled it.

Secondly, the article has what might be considered an anti-US/UK/etc slant. After reading it, and thinking to myself, “Hmm, this is a bit anti-american…” I was forced to consider the press coverage from the UK and US. Looking at that, it seems very anti-Saddam, very pro-UK/US/etc…could it be there’s a bias there too? Makes you think about what you’re reading, and its reliability. There’s also an interesting article on MSNBC about Al-Jazeera. I think it might be quite old (dating from the conflict in Afghanistan) but probably still relevant.

A post on Slashdot covered some of this last week – where should you go for unbiased news?

Links on the anorak

Just a note to explain: in future entries, links will (probably) go via the anorak shortlink service. Why? Well, a number of reasons but the main one is probably so I can tell whether anyone actually clicks on the damn things! It might also mean I don’t have to keep a list of URIs handy as well. If you hover your mouse over the links tho, you should see a description pop up which include the base url (eg

The anorak shortlink service is here