There’s a great little startup also based in London called The School of Everything which has the incredibly brilliant concept of allowing anyone to teach anything and have all of the information located in a central place. Want to teach piano lessons? Find students, get listed and charge through the site. Want to offer home yoga classes? Done. Want to be the foremost local teacher on soap carving? Great but don’t expect many people to sign up.
Alex and Henry, the CEOs of Spoonfed know the team over at School of Everything and swung by their office earlier this week for lunch, something which ended up getting a write up in their blog. This post made the rounds through the Spoonfed office today and we of course expected their lunch to have involved some highly intellectual conversation, innovative business initiatives, cutting edge technology… and all that jazz.
Imagine our surprise when the School of Everything blog exposed their true conversation: a debate between whether the School of Everything team or the Spoonfed team has the bigger teapot.
Tea is a big deal in this country.
Last night I was quite proud of myself for managing to put together an absolutely delicious meal and I thought I’d share the recipe because it was so simple.
First I sauted broccoli (which had already been cooked in the microwave for two and a half minutes so it wasn’t raw), snap peas and onions in olive oil, garlic, fresh grated ginger, red pepper flakes and soy sauce. Meanwhile I brought another pot of water to a boil and started cooking egg noodles.
Next, I combined the noodles and veggies to sit together over a very low heat for a few more minutes. I didn’t have a wok pan but if you did, I suppose this is where you would use it.
After a ridiculously short amount of time I have a very flavourful and surprisingly filling (for being vegetarian) dinner. I’ve got plenty of ginger and some left over snap peas… I might have to try this one again tonight.
I think it’ll be even better when I add some meat as well. 🙂
So this is an oldie but goodie apparently throughout Britain but I hadn’t seen it before my flatmate Ann sent it to me at work the other day. I had a good chuckle over this one:
To the citizens of the United States of America from Her Sovereign Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. In light of your failure in recent years to nominate competent candidates for President of the USA and thus to govern yourselves, we hereby give notice of the revocation of your independence, effective immediately. Her Sovereign Majesty Queen Elizabeth II will resume monarchical duties over all states, commonwealths, and territories (except Kansas,which she does not fancy). Your new Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, will appoint a Governor for America without the need for further elections. Congress and the Senate will be disbanded. A questionnaire may be circulated next year to determine whether any od you noticed. To aid in the transition to a British Crown Dependency, the following rules are introduced with immediate effect: (You should look up 'revocation' in the Oxford English Dictionary.) 1. Then look up aluminum, and check the pronunciation guide. You will be amazed at just how wrongly you have been pronouncing it. ------------------- 2. The letter 'U' will be reinstated in words such as 'colour', 'favour', 'labour' and 'neighbour.' Likewise, you will learn to spell 'doughnut'without skipping half the letters, and the suffix '-ize' will be replaced by the suffix '-ise'. Generally, you will be expected to raise your vocabulary to acceptable levels. (look up 'vocabulary'). ------------------- 3. Using the same twenty-seven words interspersed with filler noises such as 'like' and 'you know' is an unacceptable and inefficient form of communication. There is no such thing as U.S. English. We will let Microsoft know on your behalf. The Microsoft spell-checker will be adjusted to take into account the reinstated letter 'u' and the elimination of -ize. ------------------- 4. July 4th will no longer be celebrated as a holiday. ----------------- 5. You will learn to resolve personal issues without using guns, lawyers, or therapists. The fact that you need so many lawyers and therapists shows that you're not quite ready to be independent. Guns should only be used for shooting grouse. If you can't sort things out without suing someone or speaking to a therapist then you're not ready to shoot grouse. ---------------------- 6. Therefore, you will no longer be allowed to own or carry anything more dangerous than a vegetable peeler. Although a permit will be required if you wish to carry a vegetable peeler in public. ---------------------- 7. All intersections will be replaced with roundabouts, and you will start driving on the left side with immediate effect. At the same time, you will go metric with immediate effect and without the benefit of conversion tables. Both roundabouts and metrication will help you understand the British sense of humour. -------------------- 8. The Former USA will adopt UK prices on petrol (which you have been calling gasoline) of roughly $10/US gallon. Get used to it. ------------------- 9. You will learn to make real chips. Those things you call French fries are not real chips, and those things you insist on calling potato chips are properly called crisps. Real chips are thick cut, fried in animal fat, and dressed not with catsup but with vinegar. ------------------- 10. The cold tasteless stuff you insist on calling beer is not actually beer at all. Henceforth, only proper British Bitter will be referred to as beer, and European brews of known and accepted provenance will be referred to as Lager. South African beer is also acceptable as they are pound for pound the greatest sporting Nation on earth and it can only be due to the beer. They are also part of British Commonwealth - see what it did for them. American brands will be referred to as Near-Frozen Gnat's Urine, so that all can be sold without risk of further confusion. --------------------- 11. Hollywood will be required occasionally to cast English actors as good guys. Hollywood will also be required to cast English actors to play English characters. Watching Andie Macdowell attempt English dialogue in Four Weddings and a Funeral was an experience akin to having one's ears removed with a cheese grater. --------------------- 12. You will cease playing American football. There is only one kind of proper football; you call it soccer. Those of you brave enough will, in time, be allowed to play rugby (which has some similarities to American football, but does not involve stopping for a rest every twenty seconds or wearing full kevlar body Armour like a bunch of nancies). Don't try Rugby - the South Africans and Kiwis will thrash you, like they regularly thrash us. --------------------- 13. Further, you will stop playing baseball. It is not reasonable to host an event called the World Series for a game which is not played outside of America. Since only 2.1% of you are aware there is a world beyond your borders, your error is understandable. You will learn cricket, and we will let you face the South Africans first to take the sting out of their deliveries. -------------------- 14. You must tell us who killed JFK. It's been driving us mad. ----------------- 15. An internal revenue agent (i.e. tax collector) from Her Majesty's Government will be with you shortly to ensure the acquisition of all monies due (backdated to 1776). --------------- 16. Daily Tea Time begins promptly at 4 pm with proper cups, with saucers, and never mugs, with high quality biscuits (cookies) and cakes; plus strawberries (with cream) when in season. God Save the Queen!
Stay tuned… I’m composing a response to Her Majesty which I hope to have on the blog sometime soon ;).
As promised, I want to explain a bit about StumbleUpon which I mentioned with regards to Oh How Lovely! the other day. This will also give you a bit of an idea of one of the many things I do at work all day.
StumbleUpon is a social bookmarking tool which means that it is a social network (like Facebook or MySpace in that it allows millions of users to connect through shared interests or backgrounds on the same website) based around your favourite sites on the internet. At it’s most basic, StumbleUpon stores your web favourites and bookmarks online so that you can access them from any computer. But where things get interesting is when you bring in the rest of the social network.
When you register with StumbleUpon, you enter your interests and install their toolbar to your web browser (which adds another row of buttons to the top of your screen when you’re on the internet). That toolbar includes a little graphic that looks like this: and when you click that button you are taken to a random page on the internet that someone else who is a member of the site had added to their list of favourite bookmarks and tagged with an interest of yours.
For example, let’s say that I discovered a page on this blog, saved it to my favourites on StumbleUpon and tagged it with the word ‘London’ (you need to provide tags for all bookmarks you save). Then, let’s say you registered for StumbleUpon and listed ‘London’ as one of your interests. When you click the button, you might see my page appear on your screen – simple as that! Of course it gets a bit more complicated… in the tool bar you can give sites a or which makes it more or less likely that others will see it again.
Where this all gets very interesting is when you look at how StumbleUpon can be used from a marketing perspective. With millions of people out there using the button, you want to make sure your page appears when they are looking for interesting sites. It’s a very simple way to reach people who are interested in your content who may never have heard of your website. On Spoonfed, we have hundreds of articles including great music reviews, writeups of art exhibitions, theatre commentary and more that’s not necessarily unique to London – we’d like people around the world to start noticing our quality content.
StumbleUpon has a pretty smart algorithm and you can’t just favourite your own site thousands of times hoping other people will see it. The more diverse your own account is, with lots of different favourite sites from a number of interest groups, the more likely it is that a new find will appear to lots of other Stumblers.
Confused? The important things are that StumbleUpon lets you save your bookmarks online so that you, or any of your friends, can always access them from any computer AND it helps you find sites throughout the internet that match your interest but you may never have heard of. Keep clicking around and if you see The Top Floor Flat or Spoonfed pages appear, be sure to give me a !
Chessboxing at Boxing London
It’s noon on a Saturday and all I can think about is hitting someone. I’m ready to go three brutal minutes in the ring and at the end of those three minutes, I’m going to challenge them to a game of chess.
Confused? Ladies and gentleman, the perfect combination of physical and mental strength and ingenuity can now be found in chessboxing…. Read the rest of my article on Spoonfed.