Wednesday, November 07, 2007

A few messages from them to you...

It's been a while, so this might be a bit of a long one...

First of all, my friend Enrique claims that this woman is his cousin, and mentions that he'd be desperate to get in touch if anyone's seen her. I wonder why?

Next, Colin is feeling very proud about Lydia, so here she is.

And here's a message from Lisa, one of my colleagues, to let everyone know that her play El Esqueleto de La Señora Morales is currently playing at Teatro Rafael Solana, Miguel Angel de Quevedo 687. It's on every Thursday at 8:30 until December 6th. She also mentions that it's "a hilariously funny play", so if your Spanish is up to it, why not give it a go?

Finally, I've had a message from a man named
Roger Kenyon here in Mexico City, asking me to mention that they desperately need singers in the small choir he sings in. Please get in touch if you can help him out.

Normal service will now be resumed (just as soon as we find out what's normal anyway).

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Don't go to La Bodega

My girlfriend and I went to La Bodega, a restaurant in La Condesa, last night to celebrate a friend's birthday. She'd rented a private room there, and everything was fine until the time came to pay the bill. It had started raining and the restaurant's credit card terminal was out of order as a result. We managed to get together most of the bill in cash, but couldn't pay the last part. The management refused to accept any form of collateral to cover the bill and sent Sandra, the birthday girl, out in the rain to find a cash machine whilst the rest of us waited for her return.

Sitting there, virtually held prisoner by the restaurant management, we realised that what we had collected covered the bill, including rental, but minus the 15% service charge. Tips are optional in Mexico, and to our mind, good service did not include being detained for no good reason.

When Sandra returned, having failed to get money from any of the nearby cash machines, we refused to pay the service charge. An argument ensued, with the restaurant manager insisting that we had to pay the tip. I guess he didn't realise that most of the group worked in the media and were better informed than him. At this point, he suggested we left some ID and came back the next day to pay the remainder. Needless to say, his suggestion came too late, and we left, an hour and a half after we'd received the bill.

I feel sorry for the waiters, but the manager was an absolute fool. How many bad recommendations will his obstinacy have caused?

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Expat Interviewed

I've just been interviewed by the website Expat Interviews on my experiences of life in Mexico. They asked me quite a lot of questions about what it was like to come here and how I've dealt with the culture, so it's pretty comprehensive. I've also sent them some photos of Mexico, so it looks quite good too.

There are also loads of interviews with other expats all over the world, and their stories make for interesting reading. It seems weird to think of myself as an expat, but I did feel something in common with all those other people.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

School Website

Not content with having built my own website, I recently volunteered to put one together for my school and set up email for the teachers. It seems to have spiralled from there into a company blog and student forum as well, and my initial promise to have everything up and running in under five man hours seems to be a wild exaggeration.

However, it seems to be working fine at the moment, and now all I have to do is present our teachers with their accounts. I'm hoping all will go smoothly.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Google Addiction!

The website stuff is coming along. Having filled it up with feeds from the blog and my calendar, it almost looks like a website now, not just a parking space for my photo! I've also been having a look at Google Docs for hosting some poetry from an older site, and it seems to be behaving so far. I'll be putting up links on the website as and when I get around to it.

Thinking about it, I seem to be turning into a Google junkie. I'm using FeedBurner for the feeds, Blogger for the blog, Picasa for photos, Apps for the domain, Calendar for the calendar, Docs & Spreadsheets for documents and Page Creator for the home page. It's just too easy to stick them all together! That's to say, it's too easy if you want to do things on the cheap. I'm sure if I had oodles of money, I would shun these practices.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Home town controversy

Scanning through the headlines on the Guardian website, I found this story, which scared me a little. I used to live around the corner from that school and I think it all boils down to the fact that girls aren't allowed to wear jewellery there. To go to court claiming religious intolerance is just mad. Lydia Playfoot should be a character in Harry Potter...

...speaking of which, I saw the new Harry Potter film on Saturday. The women liked it, the men were apathetic. It wasn't that bad, though (says he in apathetic mode).

I've also just finished another translation, which came in at somewhere over twelve thousand words, so not bad for a week's work. Although I paid the price by being utterly unbearable on Sunday.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Real del Monte

Just come back from a trip to a little town in the mountains called Real del Monte. We went there to celebrate my birthday and had a really relaxing time. There were plenty of places to go exploring, and the town's hilly streets made for good exercise. This was just as well, because the food was very filling!

It rained a bit, which wasn't surprising, seeing as it's one of the highest inhabited areas in Mexico. What was surprising was that this meant that the electricity got cut off whilst we were down in the Acosta Mine. Our guide was the only person who had a torch, but he wasn't scared in the least, because he used to be a miner. The rest of the tour group weren't so enthusiastic.

The English weather also seemed appropriate, as the Cornish played an important role in the town's development. English history runs throughout the town, including the Panteón Inglés (English Graveyard) which is full of the Cornish names of miners who lived there. To this day, pasties (or pastes) are sold all over the place, making it feel like a Cornish town in Mexico. The only thing missing is the sea.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

New address

It appears that this blog's change of address went without a hitch and is now running from its own domain. I've also now got my own website, although there's not a lot to see there at the moment. Hopefully this will change with time.

The teaching's going well at the moment, and the meeting we had the other day to talk about strategies for our "virtual students" gave me some useful ideas. Now I just have to put them into practice.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Neurótica FM and other stuff

I've just finished a translation for Neurótica.FM, courtesy of my friend Omar. It was great looking up stuff like Effective radiated power for that one. Hopefully, it'll be useful for him.

Classes are looking a bit slack at the moment, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed that my school will find something useful for me to do. We've got a meeting on Friday with the company running the "virtual study group". Apparently, we have to work on our collective teaching strategy!

I'm stuck in a Chinese restaurant off Tlalpan in the novel at the moment, so I'm hoping I get some free time soon to finish writing that chapter. I imagine the waiters must be getting pretty impatient too.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Teaching and books

I've been rather busy recently, sending a stack of emails for my "virtual study group" and trying to organise the more able ones into a Google Group so they can practise more. Who knows if they'll actually use it?

The novel's coming along, slowly. I'm somewhere in the middle of Chapter Five, which means I've written about 85 pages by hand. I have my doubts as to the plot, but I decided from the beginning that I wasn't going to look back, so anything broken has to be fixed as I go along. When I get around to editing it, I'll have plenty of chances to rearrange stuff.

Now, time for a very, very late lunch!

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Label Cloud

Here's my new label cloud, which I'm pretty impressed with - hopefully, it'll be much easier to explore previous entries now. Clouds also make it possible for bloggers to use far more creative labels in a useful way.

The instructions on how to do it are a bit complicated, but worth wading through. You end up with a beautifully-organised list which shows you precisely what subjects/obsessions a blogger has to share with the world.

Or it could just be an enormous waste of time.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Translations and photos

I see that one of my translations is now online. It's always weird to look back at translating work again - I end up feeling there are things I could have done better, and some I don't remember writing at all. Still, it's nice to see it published.

Here's a photo of the Zócalo in the city centre, which I snapped on my mobile the other day. No reason, just felt like taking a picture of something so magnificent as I passed on my way back home.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Writing and Time Lords

I'm up to page 63 in the novel I'm writing, which also feels like the age I'll be when it's finished.

According to this site, my Timelord name is Mosdrashytonytanmorenoldacheengoldilden, although some Spanish friends of mine think that it repeats its choices too often, and they all seem to get called Tony.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Metro Woes

Got to class late today because the Metro decided to go wonky; a journey which usually takes twenty minutes took forty. The passengers were beginning to get restless at one point (after the second ten-minute stop in a row). Who can blame them, when the only information you get is a recorded announcement saying that "the train will resume its progress soon"?

How about a bit more information? Something along the lines of:
  1. An apology
  2. A reason for the delay
  3. An indication of how much longer we're all going to have to wait for them to resolve Point 2?

Still, it gave me an excellent example in class for how to put "he explained why they were late" into direct speech.

Friday, March 30, 2007

Monday, March 05, 2007

Charlie on a bungee jump

Here's a short clip of W Radio's Charlie de la Mora on a bungee jump in Acapulco.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Water Squandered in Parque de los Venados

My girlfriend and I were walking past Parque de los Venados yesterday, and saw the park being flooded to water the plants. However, there was no-one in sight to turn off the hosepipes. Since there appear to be stories in the news all the time about the scarcity of water in Mexico City, why are the parks wasting so much water?