The Exile Files

Raging Against the Outrageous. Laughter and Insanity Abound.

Archive for July, 2007

Smoke on the Waiter

Posted by Exile on July 29, 2007

We went off to the town last night. It was a farewell to Copenhagen’s night life.

A smoking ban comes into force this week, making it impossible to smoke in pubs, clubs, nightclubs and restaurants. This is to protect the many waiters and bar staff and such from the evils of “passive smoking”. So we decided to have a last fling.

One of our favourite restaurants is the famous Copenhagen Corner. Expensive but equally excellent. We hadn’t booked. There is usually room for two. On reaching the restaurant we asked for a table for two. “Smoking or non-smoking?”. “Smoking please”. The maitre d’ spied out across the less than half full restaurant . “Sorry”, he said “The smoking area is full. I can put you in the non-smoking area.”

Hmmm.. The smoking area was full, and the non-smoking area was as empty as a desert. “It would appear there are more smokers than non-smokers.” said my good lady. “Yes”, said the maitre d’. Which doesn’t bode well for the future.

We declined his offer and moved on to Tivoli gardens. Finding a restaurant catering for us smokers, with a view over the lawn, (which isn’t really a lawn. It’s covered in gravel) we were placed by the window. The food was good, the wine was excellent, the staff pleasant and extremely polite and we spent a very agreeable two and a half hours enjoying the ambience. I looked around the restaurant. Again, the smokers far outnumbered the non-smokers.

Leaving Tivoli, we adjourned to a little club not far away. Mojo. The best blues club in town. It isn’t big. Room for about 150 people if no one dances! Catching the second set and singing our heads off to the familiar numbers, we had a great time. Again, most of the public were smokers but the air conditioning seemed to cope extraordinarily well.

I have a theory about all of this. Obviously, when the smoking ban comes into force, these places are going to suffer. And badly. Why? because the people that go out into the night life are the smokers. The non-smokers don’t go out. They don’t smoke because they can’t afford a pack of cigarettes, and neither can they afford to take a night on the town. Which makes a bit of a mockery of this smoking ban. It’s going to remove the smoke from the waiter, yes. It will surely also remove the waiter from the restaurant. In fact, it will remove the restaurants too.

Farewell Copenhagen. It was nice knowing you. I’ll be eating at home from now on.

Prove me wrong if you can!

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Cancel my Last… It’s the Tour de Farce.

Posted by Exile on July 26, 2007

Well, well. Now there’s a surprise. Michael “chicken” Rasmussen has been fired by his team, Rabobank, and is leaving the tour. Two or three others have been caught in doping tests and two or three teams have now left the tour. Not much point in carrying on then, is there?

Let’s face it. Every one of the top riders in this sport are doing, or have done, the doping thing. Steroids, EPO, performance enhancing drugs or just testosterone injections are everyday tools of the trade in all sports these days where big money comes with everything to do with advertising and sponsorship. You need to have a winner to get your advertising money back.

I’m prepared to bet, that whoever wins the Tour de Farce is doing, or has done, dope.

It’s just that some get away with it, and others don’t.

The biggest dopes around, are the ones who don’t believe that.

Funny to see the way the press handles it here. Until yesterday, the news people were all calling him “Michael”. Now he’s just “Rasmussen”.

Hypocrits.

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Tour d’irritation.

Posted by Exile on July 23, 2007

Having the time to sit and watch the Tour de France, I decided to see one of the great stages of this phenomenal race. The T.V. coverage we get here is from France. Typical french protectionism, and not very good T.V. at that. If there is any chance of seeing a frenchie doing something, even remotely attractive or outstanding, then blow the rest, he’s the main attraction. No matter how exciting the rest of the race may be. Or where the leaders are.

A couple of other things are irritating too. In any other sport where the spectators get on the field of play or even dare to approach the competing athletes, the game is stopped immediately. So how can the organisers of this race allow the people lining the route to jump out onto the asphalt, shoving flags and cardboard cutouts and God knows what else into the faces of the speeding cyclists? Or running beside them with flags flapping round their legs and dangerously close to spinning front wheels of cycles? This is madness. Extremely dangerous. It could even mean the end of a brilliant career in cycle sports. This should be stopped.

Another really irritating thing is the yellow jersey. It is worn by only one rider. The tour leader. It singles him out as the reigning personality and should make him easy to spot in the group. See this then:

yellow.jpg

How many bloody yellow jerseys are there? There should be one. There are about twenty here. This should be forbidden. No yellow in team colours. It can’t be that hard to make so simple a rule. This is, by the way, the Saunier Duval Prodir team. They don’t figure anywhere but apparently have visions of grandeur and feel they need to be in yellow jerseys too. HEEJITS! All they do is confuse the picture.

There is only one yellow jersey that counts. And this guy is wearing it at present.

rasmussen.jpgMichael Rasmussen!

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D.I.M. (Do It Myself)

Posted by Exile on July 22, 2007

My good lady is good at many things. One of them is finding things for me to do. It is absolutely teeming it down with rain in this land right now, and there is no sign of it letting up. I can’t be expected to go out into the garden in this weather, so I obviously need something to do indoors. At least, she thinks so. The big question is, or should I say, was, what?

Well, she found something. Repaint the living space and buy new doors for the house.

The painting bit will be easy enough. Buy paint and start at one end. A couple of days with covered furniture and paint spotted clothing is simple enough. No biggie. But doors?

The old doors aren’t in bad shape. They are merely “old”. They look “old”. Painting them won’t change that. No. We must have new, modern-looking doors. No patina. No dents.

So off to the builders merchants and see what’s available. Having measured the doors, we found we needed two doors of 72.5 cm width, and one of 82.5. The style was not up for discussion. “Finlanda” was her chosen preference. So Finlanda it had to be. They were even on offer at one of the local builders merchant stores. No excuses, Exile, off you go. Get doors.

If only these places lived up to their ads, one wouldn’t have to worry. But alack and alas, all is not so. I went to the aforementioned merchant and discovered to my horror that they only had them in 72.5 cm. The 82.5’s were sold out. They had other doors in both dimensions but I know better than to go home without Finlanda doors. My life would be as good as over. What now, Exile?

Luckily, there are more than one merchant in the area. So off to number two. They had Finlanda doors. Same price as the last place. Which made me think, “But they were “on offer” over there at the other store. Who is bullshitting me now?” Mental note to me from me; Don’t shop at the other place. Anyhow, enlightened and envigoured by my good fortune, I began to gather doors. I found one in 82.5 and one in 72.5. But I need two of the latter.

What does one do? OK, I could buy these two here and go back to the first place and get one of the two I found over there, or I could perhaps see if there was an acceptable alternative version here in the required amount and size. I found a good alternative. Not exactly Finlanda, but acceptable. But no. These were all sold out of 82.5’s as well.

By now I had lifted and sorted about 200 doors in the various merchants I had visited and I was, frankly, a bit fed up with the whole affair. Not to mention, knackered…

I was about to give up and leave to think about the whole situation in the pub, when one of the merchant’s personnel came up to me and asked what I was looking for. Explaining what I needed he said, “No problem. I have a shed load of ’em outside in the big storeroom. Come with me.”, and promptly led the way. I thought, “Why doesn’t he fill the shelves up then and save me all this bother?” but decided to keep my big mouth shut.

Within two minutes I had exactly what I needed. All three doors, six sets of hinges and a big old bill to pay.carpenter.jpg

Of course, I completely forgot to get door handles, sandpaper, paintbrushes, paintrollers, a roller tray, thinners, strippers, tape and polythene. But hey, I know the guy at the builders merchant store now, so no problem.

Now. How the hell do I hang a bloody Finlanda door….?

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Living Without Bill Gates

Posted by Exile on July 17, 2007

Yes. It is possible. I have two computers here at the Exile’s abode. One is used as a back up machine if the main machine breaks down or throws a temper tantrum or whatever it is that computers do when they decide to go on strike. Both have been running on Windows XP and I have learned to live with all the bally-hoo that follows in the wake of Microsoft and updating and viruses and so on. Well, all that is over now for computer number two. I have discovered something equal to, if not better than, Windows.

ubuntulogo.pngIt is called “Ubuntu”, which is a South African word meaning “for humanity”. And guess what, Ubuntu is absolutely free. Yep. It cost me nothing. And I can programme as many computers as I like with the one disc I have. No licensing problems here. No more “pirate” software.

Ubuntu comes complete with a full range of applications which you can opt in or out of, programming the machine to do what you want it to do. It has a mail programme, internet browsers, a complete office pack, CAD if you want it, drawing and painting programmes, a firewall, in fact, everything you could ask for. And probably more too.

Based on Linux, this system is free from start to finish. And so are all the applications. They work too. OK, one has to get used to a slightly different screen view, and a slightly different set of desktop items and desktop. But hey, it’s free, so who cares.

The important thing is, that I am no longer dependant on Billy G. and the mighty Microsoft corporation. So yah-boo-sucks to them.

Anyone looking for an alternative to Windows might like to try this out. You can order a disc for free, or download the whole shooting match from the website if you have DSL. I waited for about 4 weeks for my CD to come in the post. It cost me nothing. Not even postage.

Who said you can’t have something for nothing?

Link: Ubuntu Home Page Go here, and read all about it.

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Here Comes the Summer Sun

Posted by Exile on July 7, 2007

But we can’t see it because of the 2,ooo foot high rain clouds that cover the land. Damn, this is depressing. The aftermath of my Greek holiday is getting to me too. My skin is falling off me in great flakes. I look like a leper. I take my shirt off and it snows for about ten minutes. My wife follows me round with a dust-buster.

homer_naked.jpgIn Greece we were whining about the 43 degrees in the shade and wow, wasn’t it hot. Yep. It was. In fact it was so hot that I spent the most of a day sitting in the Ionian sea with only my head above water. I looked like a match when I finally got out. White body and a bright red head. My wife thought it was amusing. The following day I tried to compensate and burnt the rest of my body to a crisp. Which took about thirty minutes. Then I looked like a lobster, fresh out of the pot, but with a broad white strip around my nether regions. There is no justice. People greeted me with a friendly “Hi Red”.

Denmark hasn’t had much of a summer. May wasn’t bad and it looked promising enough, but then June set in and the rain started. We have had record rainfall. July doesn’t look like being any better. Now the farmers are beginning to whine too. No harvest this year. No wheat, no barley. That’s terrible. No malt means no beer. Tragic.

The garden is overgrown now. Warm and wet seems to suit the plants. My garden has the appearance of a mini rainforest. I’m almost afraid to go beyond the path. I don’t know what is living between the house and the woodshed. Probably wild, vicious, maneating animals. They could easily be lying in wait in the long grass or lurking behind the bushes. We hear strange noises at night.

I have convinced my wife that we need a week of sunshine before I can mow the bloody lawn again. By then I’ll probably need a scythe to get through it and an armed escort to ensure my survival.

Global warming? My ass. Global pouring it down seems to be the order of the day.

I wish I was in Greece.

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