Early Christmas greetings

christmas, denmark, sweden, presents

…from Copenhagen, Denmark.
tivoliIts’s that time of year again when we move our bodies towards North to enjoy yule spirit with my parents.
feastThe sun setting at 3.30 pm and the freezing temperature brings out the best of Christmas spirit. So does the Scandinavian Christmas food, plentyfull and rich.
Having relatives in various parts of the world has the benefit of multiple Christmas eves and even better, multiple presents openings.
Tonight, Christmas celebration with my parents in Sweden; next week the same with Carla’s family in Brasil. Just a temperature difference of 40 degrees.
Whereever you are, take care and be well,


Fasten your seat belt because this is a fast paced movie with quick dialogs and even quicker drug habits.
The movie follows the deranged and drug dependant lives of a group of people. Being either the producers or the consumers, they all have one thing in common; methamphetamine (speed). The high-light is a 3 days long drug odyssey for the main character Ross (Jason Schwartzman) where time seizes to exist.
The movie was directed by the Swede Jonas Akerlund and you will find several Swedish oddities in the movie if you look for them. An old brown Volvo 240 plays a central role, one song by Vikingarna (a Swedish folk band) is on the soundtrack and I suspect that the two blond toy-boys lounging with Cook’s gay patron are Swedes as well.
One might say that Mickey Rourke (The cook) puts on a great performance but I have my suspicions that he was just being him self. In my opinion Spider (John Leguizamo), Nikki (Brittany Murphy) and Ross put on the best performances. They act out their emotions very well.
The movie tries hard making an impact on the viewer but in the end it just comes across as offensive and bit shallow.

HMV UK return policy – beware

You will probably be spending some amount of money on CDs, DVDs and console games this Christmas so please think twice before purchasing at HMV. Their return policy is not what you may be used to.
Basically, HMV offers no refunds or store credit; only exchanges are allowed and this only if the item is in “perfect condition and original packaging”.
The consequence is that if you purchase something wrong or get an unwated present the only option you have is to take it back to HMV and pick something else with “similar value”. If you don’t, or not to the full value of the previously purchased item, the money is lost. If you cannot decide on something to replace the item with (with the same value again) within 21 days, the money is lost… and, most annoying, make sure to carry the item with you at all times in case you happen to walk into an HMV that day and happen to find something you like.
This strict policy is printed on the back of the receipt but if you do have a read, it is already too late because the purchase has been made.
After the bad luck with the manager in the store I phoned up HMV head quarters (0207 467 1109) to confirm this strict policy. Yes, HMV changed their policy June 2003 due to “hard market conditions the passed year” was the answer.
I am not quite sure what it means but if it means that HMV has been affected by the recent recession in world economy let me just state that I too have been affected.
Apparantly it is up to the managers discretion to offer gift vouchers. I recall that when I mentioned this offer to the manager it was refused. I guess I was not representable enough or that the manager was having a bad day. Too bad that her bad day reflects this badly on HMV and will affect where I (and anybody I managed to inform) makes future purchases.
Update 15/12/03
I was lucky enough to sell on the unwanted purchase to a colleague. If similar has happened to you, you can help by linking to this story (http://www.davidkaspar.com/archives/2003/12/hmv_uk_return_policy_beware.php) on your website to make more people aware and to try to send a message to HMV….
Update 05/03/08
A reader has pointed out that the HMV return policy has changed. I have in fact not been shopping in HMV for the last 4 years so I cannot confirm this.
Best thing you can do is to ask a manager in the store about the return policy for “sealed items with original receipt” before you buy a present.

Necessary evil

It had to be done; most of Sunday was spent on Christmas shopping.
I limited my “attack” to Oxford St only, especially the department store Selfridges since everything is under one roof. The area was heaving with people but I was doing good progress despite that. Around 1 present every 30 20 minutes I reckon.
This was until Carla joined up with me and through that pace out of the window. Immediately the focus was on window shopping and touching-but-not-buying. I am not so much into skirts and blouses but I was surprised that I enjoyed browsing tall leather boots and handbags.
Also I learned that orange is the new grey. Funny, it feels like yesterday when grey was the new black or was it black that was the new green? What’eva.
Highlight of the afternoon was Fortnum & Mason, where I was once again remained that this is the real McCoy in department stores. You can feel the some 300 years of history while walking around the store and you realise that Harrods is just a copy in comparison.
There was an exhibition of old Chinese items in the Dragon Room. You could pick up a Ming dynasty china (a larger than life stucco head) for a mere £2,750. Top of the line were the Lung-puos (dragon robes), with one specific and beautifully colorful summer chao-fu (circa 1850). Now that’s what I call a Christmas present; but it will set you back £19,210.
Pounding head ache in the evening was my reward but nothing that a few pills could not cure. Even managed to dooze of to Breakfast at Tiffany’s from the Carla’s newly purchased DVD box set with Audrey Hepburn.

The Darkness, Brixton Academy, London

My ears are very clean and my socks have been rocked off. I have been blasted with the ear splitting rock music of The Darkness.
The band has quickly become popular; most notably due to their presence at the MTV Europe awards where they received the MTV2 UK award.
Their music style is a fast paced flamboyant rock and the show is spectacular. Full of lights, smoke, fire, rock jumps in catsuits and all accompanied with the high-pitched vocals of Justin Hawkins.
Several crowd pleaser were performed like Growing on me, Get your hands of my woman and I Believe In A Thing Called Love. The show ended with the not yet released Christmas Time (Don’t Let The Bells End)’ where a dozen of children joined the band on stage. The soft voices of the children being drowned by electric guitar and drums was hilarious.

If you missed yesterdays concert at the Brixton Acadamy you will have plenty more chances because the band is doing an UK tour at the moment. Recharge your pacemakers however, because the show is real shock to the system.
“The Darkness. Brixton Academy. December 2003. I was there” (photos)

Bittorrent – The new P2P in town

The idea is brilliant; tap in to your users upload capacity to distribute your product across the Internet more efficiently.
If you have a killer product that your customers are downloading, the distribution (bandwidth) costs will increase proportionally with the amount of customers. This may be ok if the product is commercial and you can transfer the distribution costs to the cost of the product.
If on the other hand it is a free-ware product, lets say an open source application, you may find it hard to finance the popularity of the project.

Continue reading “Bittorrent – The new P2P in town”

Ode to my fofa

fofa.gifWhere would I be without her strong mind, fiery attitude and big heart. She blows a breath of life and passion into my otherwise mediocre tour of life. I was lost until she found me and she is now my muse, inspiration and a true companion in the battle that life sometimes is.
Always fighting for the less fortunate; may it be old, sick or poor people.
Loves dogs above all… for both good and bad. Other animals are very high up there as well.
“Thank you for everything”, I tell her.
“Pay me back in diamonds”, she says while smiling the most seductive little smile.