Maybe it’s just me, but diabetes seems to be a hot issue recently. In my ignorance, I didn’t realise it was so widespread and so important. A recent podcast on the IT Conversations site with Larry Ellingson (former chair of the American Diabetes Association) discussed the disease in detail, and there was a single fact mentioned that took me by surprise: 300 million in the world (4%) have diabetes. However, the prevalence of diabetes in the Western world is considerably greater, primarily because of poor diet and exercise, which exacerbates Type II diabetes.
We’ve recently got some new break-out rooms at Hursley, which contain some very comfy sofas; I must go in there more often. I tried the new coffee machines therein too - they were more disappointing. I’ll stick with my no-way-to-obtain-good-coffee-at-my-workplace theory. Back to plan A.
Getting your hair cut is normally dead time, unless you find the conversation particularly stimulating. So as I was having mine trimmed this morning, I got to wondering: Why going to the barber’s is like going to the dentist You have to sit very still or bad things happen. This is tricky and you tend to squirm. From time to time they re-orient your head. They have a special chair that goes up and down.
As Adrian did recently, I’ve gone completely caffeine free at work, and have been so for about a month (except on the odd occasion that I’ve forgotten and lapsed). The only things I’ll allow myself are herbal tea, normally camomile, or from time-to-time a green one. I did this primarily for health reasons - I am finding that my ability to concentrate is much better now, as well as suffering from fewer headaches and other unpleasant side-effects.
For those who live in or visit the area, you might be interested in a funky little tea shop that’s just opened in Winchester called Char. I was introduced to this tea shop by plv, who’s also written about it. The shop is run by a very nice gentleman who seems to know far more about tea than is good for one person. The prices aren’t cheap (let’s be blunt, they are expensive), but you could spend all day smelling the samples and deciding.
I’ve written before about how useless the downtown Sainsbury’s in Winchester is. I’ve noticed, however, they have recently put up a cunning sign, which, paraphrased, reads: ‘We are currently experiencing a shortage of organic milk. [And indeed they were, the shelf was empty]. However, Sainsbury’s XYZ milk is available, and 5p from each pint goes to farmers to help them convert over to organic production.' Sainsbury’s, here’s a hint: I’m not interested in voluntarily subsidising farmers’ investment in their own production and helping you and them to solve logistical and production problems.
To some people, Farmers' markets, such as those that visit Winchester on a monthly basis, are an interesting part of a day out. Browsing round provides the opportunity to buy bread, cheese, beer, jams, and other such produce that’s no doubt better than most of what the local supermarkets stock. Many people get stuck on particular brands (read: particular stalls), because they prefer them, and go back again and again to the same place.
A small example of innovation in the supermarket industry. I know that I should eat a variety of nutrients from fruit and veg, but it’s hard to find the time to study foodstuffs in detail. Tesco provide a rough-and-ready guideline on the shelf - at little expense to them, and some benefit to me. I hadn’t come across this before. It sounds like a generalisation that’ll have plenty of exceptions, but is still accurate enough to be useful.
In an attempt to lighten my mood from writing grumbles about big government and security, I notice that Darren Rowse at ProBlogger mentions that his local cafe has recently reinvigorated their menu, and seems to be finding more success as a result (he then creates a rather tenuous link to re-invigorating a blog by a similar method). Another vague data point for my menu study? Sadly, he doesn’t say exactly what they did to the menu to achieve this.
More worrying menu indicators, this time based on an actual Chinese takeaway menu that arrived through my door: A massive 222 items in total. Numbers next to the items. ‘Orders over £12 - Free Curry Samosa’. Hmm, how Chinese. In fact, there is an entire Curry section, including a Chips option. The menu has plenty of ‘Improved recipe!' and ‘New!'. Does this come from the McDonald’s school of menu design?