Week 17: Winding down

It’s been a comedy week, rather than a journalism one, a pattern determined by who’s around and who’s able to get back to me, and of course with it being Christmas, everyone’s away, and with it being snowy, the post never comes. What I’m trying to tell you is, I don’t seem to have got much done. I have, however:

* posted all papers to date
* blogged and
* been blogged about
* filed copy
* been invited to speak at two events in the New Year, and started thinking about what I can do at them.
* recorded a very last minute Shift Run Stop, with Roo and Lee, for the Christmas special episode.
* last but not least – my third column went up on the BBC site, and has started appearing on the BBC (News) Magazine front page! Yeah! Bring on the new book deal.

You’re at home, you’re relaxing. You don’t want to be told off today. So in lieu of the life lesson lecture this week, have some interesting links. Happy Christmas!

1. Lee Maguire gets Iron Man 2 into a post about Wikileaks

2. John Graham-Cumming has been writing some great stuff about passwords recently.

3. I’ve developed a huge interest in petrol station offers of the 1980s and 90s this week. It started when I remembered some foil baubles we had as kids. They may have pre-dated me, but always seemed fantastically futuristic, and I loved them. And part of their fascination was always their mysterious provenance – “petrol station tokens” (you can buy them for ludicrous prices on Ebay.) Carriage clocks, wine glasses… I think we even had a timeshare microwave. Did people never pay for anything in the 80s? Anyway, Wes showed me this extremely interesting page detailing the scratch card offers, Star Trek promotion, etc. I PROMISE IT IS INTERESTING. Look:

“The mistakes made in the past ten years in some disaster games are astonishing to a games specialist. For example, there was the quiz game with no game variations, so competitors only had to remove the scratch-off material from one game piece to be able to answer all the questions on the next.

The Mirror was acutely embarrassed when it published an incorrect combination of “called numbers” for its bingo-type game, resulting in a long queue outside its offices one Saturday morning, with thousands thinking they had won a big prize.”

or how about:

‘Everything appeared fairly straight-forward except for one thing: Shell insisted on an every-card-can-win game. An every-card-can-win game throws up a security nightmare. Donovan explains: “It’s to do with the problem of an open-ended prize fund liability. I’ve heard of cases in the States where everyone has ended up winning. Also, one of the first noughts and crosses games run by Esso had to be cancelled on the second day because it produced 20 valid claims for £1 00000.” The legal actions resulting from the Esso case are still dragging on five years later.’

I’d go to an exhibition about petrol station offers, it seems endlessly interesting – so industrial and yet, so homely. I think petrol stations really come into their own this time of year. What would we do without them? I can’t write music, or I’d compose a song. Instead, I may blog about it over at ‘the other place‘ shortly.

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