Yes folks they're all part of life's weird tapestry as a British Microsoft employee at a Microsoft event in Seattle.
After I referred to Snowclones recently it I should point out that blank and drugs and blank blank blank is a snow clone modeled on Ian Dury's "Sex and Drugs and Rock and Roll". Dury said he was from Upminster, where I was born, although according to his Wikipedia entry he was actually actually born in Harrow. There is a an old joke - based on the stations on London Underground's district line; "You've got mad, Barking Mad, and Upminster"... "Upminster ?" "Serveral stops beyond Barking".
So what of the Pigs, the Drugs and the naked dwarves ?
First the pigs. Seattle has "Pigs on Parade" going on at the moment and wherever I walk in this city there are fabulous decorated pigs. Microsoft is one of the many sponsors I'm pleased to say. I've been grabbing pictures with the camera on my smartphone when I see them. Here are couple
Next the Drugs. Steve and I have ended up doing some unscheduled research into the American Health Care system. He can tell what happened to him for himself. As for me, well for the last five years or so a prescription drug has helped me lead a bit more normal life than would otherwise be the case. I bought a supply with me to the US. Sometime in the last couple of days I lost it. I'm got going to die or go "Upminster" for lack of my drug, but withdrawal isn't fun, and it will need a few days of taking it to again to get back to normal. So I called the emergency number we have for just these kinds of things, got referred to a Doctor who could prescribe me enough to see me home. I had to pay for my own, and at £2.30 per tablet my usual prescription charge of £6.50 for 28 looks a real bargain. Our system works. My phone says I made the call at 3:16, and the receipt from the Pharmacy is timed at 5:40, and more than half the time was spent in or waiting for Taxis. I don't actually inhabit the kind of World that William Gibson writes about - but it reminded me of the the opening of Count Zero, a few sentences in, it has this "Because he had a good agent, he had a good contract. Because he had a good contract, he was in Singapore an hour after the explosion. Most of him, anyway." (The very first sentences of Gibson's books are often great Count Zero starts "They set a Slamhound on Turner's trail in New Delhi, slotted it to his pheromones and the color of his hair").
But if you've read this far, you want to know about the Naked Dwarves.
There are a bunch of memorable quotes from this week. One was Bill Gates talking about PBX's as Mainframes "an expensive way of doing things in a rigid way". One was a product manager talking about a product which is still secret, and referring to the next product which is so hush-hush they've code named it "Shshhhh". (Which reminds me of a programming language called "KEEP". The developer was asked what KEEP stood for. "It's not an acronym" he said "I just found a good way not to have people throw program listings away was if the header page said 'KEEP' in big letters" ) However the prize for the best single line of the week (and I have permission from someone in Legal to blog this), is the explanation of how a Microsoft employee, in the context of a legitimate business conversation came to shout down the phone to someone "If you don't get a naked dwarf in my office by this afternoon, I'm coming over there to get one for myself".
I will explain the context of this ... but in another post :-)
James eluded to my visit to the hospital in his Pigs Drugs and Naked Dwarves post . Thanks to everyone