Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Immigration Debate

Politicians in the UK really know how to make immigrants feel right at home and welcome. There have been debates and proposals being bandied about that target immigrants both from the EU and from outside. Most recently this week David Cameron told the BBC that the number of people moving to the UK to work should be reduced. Immigrants take jobs and resources away from nationals.

This follows up on a proposal a few weeks ago to implement a £25k flat tax for non-domiciled residents who earn income from non-UK sources. From what I understand this applies to people that have lived and worked in the UK for over 5 years but claim permanent residency in another country. This allows EU nationals to avoid a significant amount of taxes on finances earned overseas.

I guess America isn't the only country that is trying to crack down on immigrants.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

California Dreamin'

I just returned from a week in Palm Springs for our company's annual sales conference. I have to say it was nice to have a bit of warm weather and sun for a little while. The conference was good but a couple of notable things happened on the way to Palm Springs.

We flew into and cleared customs at LAX which means that you have to pick up your checked baggage and re-check it in. When I got my bag I noticed that my Hobart & William Smith key chain that was attached to the zipper was missing. I was a little irritated and decided to see if for some reason the airline had to take it off and it was put in my suitcase. I opened a zippered compartment and saw some items that weren't mine - 2 sleeves of medicine that I don't take. From what I can gather somebody picked up my bag thinking it was theirs took off the key chain put stuff in it then realized it wasn't theirs.

On the flight from LAX to Palm Springs we flew right over the area where the fires were. It was awe-inspiring to look out the window and see the patches of fires in the area. There were 3 or 4 different areas that were in flames. The conference location wasn't really impacted by the fires until the last few days there. The winds shifted and there was a haze as the smoke from the fires rolled into the area.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Italian Food

I am an adventurous person and like to try local cuisines when I travel which is why I find it rather funny that I have eaten Italian in many different countries. During business lunches or dinners on the road it seems like no matter what country I'm in my co-workers pick an Italian restaurant. To date I've had in Italian in:

  • Sweden - twice.
  • Switzerland
  • Spain
  • Germany

Of course when I'm in Italy next month I expect to eat lots of Italian.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

A Taste of Boston

Last night the Boston Celtics played the Minnesota Timberwolves at The O2 in London. I knew about the game for some time but with my schedule I never know if I'm going to be around, on Monday when I finally confirmed that I would be free on Wednesday night I bought a ticket. I know at The Garden additional tickets were always released a couple of days prior to the event and luckily that was the case here as well. I was able to get excellent seats even though a month ago they were saying the event was sold out. You can see the view from my seats in the shot below.

Prior to the game I decided to have a beer at the bar in the O2 as there was about 45 minutes until tip off. In addition to the standard beers they always serve on this special occassion they had Sam Adams! Unfortunately the Sam wasn't served inside the arena but I did enjoy one before the game.

While there were a lot of people in Celtics jerseys (or kit as they say here) there was representation from some other teams as well. Jerseys I saw included Nets, Knicks, Heat, & Pistons. Not to mention the few people that wore NFL jerseys - I guess they didn't have any other kit to wear. I myself proudly supported a Celtics t-shirt from the 2002 playoff game in Boston. As I was leaving a guy stopped me to ask if I was at that game - what was odd is that as I was leaving I had put a sweatshirt on. He must have seen me earlier in the game.

I found it entertaining that some people were more interested in the local sports celebrities that were at the game than the NBA players. On a similar note I picked up The Metro on my way to work today as I do every morning and was quite surprised that there was nothing in the sports section on the game. They had coverage the day before but nothing afterwards.

Celebrities in attendance included Chelsea footballer Didier Drogba and Formula 1 driver, Lewis Hamilton. In the picture above of the court Lewis is the third guy from the rightTowards the end of the game I witnessed some interesting interactions between the security staff at the arena, a group of women and a guy with the Lewis Hamilton party. I will tell you what I saw and let you draw your own conclusions. The security staff and the representative went over to the women helped them out of their seats and then they left the arena. A few minutes later the rep went over to Lewis whispered in his ear and they both left.

With all the hype about Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen joining the Celtics I was expecting a blow out game through most of the first half it was way too close and at some points the Timberwolves even had the leave. By the end of the first half they had about a 15 point lead. In the end they won and that is all that matters.

Saturday, October 6, 2007


I've never seen so many strikes or industrial action as I have in the last few months. About a month ago the tube drivers went on strike for about 2 days grinding all transportation into London to halt. A few key lines were in operation but it was mainly buses and trains that were in use.

This week the postal workers have gone on strike preventing the delivery of any mail for the foreseeable future. This poses a little bit of a problem for me as I have switched bank accounts and was expecting my new card day now and this may cause an issue. But more importantly I bought a camera case for my new camera and now that won't be coming in for a while.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Traditional Swedish Food

Was in Stockholm for a couple of days again this week. This is now my second trip there and I still haven't had much time to get out and explore, maybe the next time.

There seems to be a rather odd traditional Thursday lunch. I was told about this even before we got to the canteen. For as long as people can remember on Thursday you have pea soup and pancakes for lunch. The pancakes are not like a typical American pancake it is more like a crepe and you put strawberries or cherries and whipped cream on top. The soup was just a typical split pea soup, but for toppings they have oregano and mustard. Overall not a bad lunch. Nobody could tell me why this started they just said it has always been that way.

After the training class, they had a treat for me - Cinnamon Buns. I was told this is a dessert that is very near and dear to the Swedes. Just a little dusting of sugar on top not the glazing that exists on American cinnamon buns. A very nice way to end the day.

They have suggested on the next trip I try the fermented fish. There is one kind that comes in a can and is under so much pressure you have to open it in water.

All this talk of food is making me hungry so I'll sign off for now.