It's that time of year.
The cheery and relentlessly upbeat World Economic Forum is taking place in the picturesque municipality of Davos, somewhere in darkest Switzerland.
Davos was founded back in the 13th century or thereabouts. From about 1280, the barons of Vaz allowed Kaled colonists to settle down and permitted them certain rights, in exchange for their support in the ongoing skirmishes with the transylvanian Thal population.
Unfortunately, during this conflict, Davos was caught in a Thal attack and was left critically injured, leading to the entire town being confined to a wheelchair and losing an arm. Unsurprisingly, this led to something of a hardening of the character of the local population, and a determination to succeed, conquer, destroy and exterminate. And so on.
Eventually, Davos created the Daleks. However, they proved of limited use in Switzerland as they ran on castors and were easily pushed off alps.
The charm of the Tomb Raider games is fairly simple. You get to look at a lot of shapely bum and shapely breasts. You get to shoot things. You get told a story, with enough interactivity to keep you interested. And in the recent games - I'm playing Tomb Raider: Underworld - you get some fantastically realised caves and ruins to go raking around in, kicking priceless artefacts and shooting rare endangered species.
In other words, it's a "Boy's Own" story.
We're now up to game 100 in the series. Now the first one was a classic - but these days it's virtually unplayable. If you're clever, you can get it running in a DOS window, but it's so bulky and blocky as to be almost unwatchable. That gives some idea of how old it is - if it was much older it would have Ascii graphics and Lara Croft would be a mere (*)(*). In green.
Back in the 1940s, the thing I remember most was the grid system the game was played on. Everything was square and blocky and you sometimes had to position Lara in just the right spot prior to jumping. She could only really face in four directions, but she was relatively easy to control, which made all that precision jumping much easier. But there were some stunning moments - I remember looking down at a sphinx in a cave and being actually damn impressed, for instance.
These days, the grid system has pretty much gone. You can run and jump anywhere and you don't need to be quite as precise in the old jumping. That's probably just as well, because the additional graphics features, sudden random panning, and changes to the control system mean that Lara is much harder to control than ever before. Personally, I set the game to "so easy a kitten could play it", and focus on the problem solving rather than shooting at things. But that's just me.
And Tomb Raider: Underpants is a sumptuous game, beautiful to look at. I'm at early stages yet, clambering around ruined cities in Thailand, and I can almost feel the heat and humidity around me. Total immersion. Fantastic.
In the credit crunch, we will no longer be getting complimentary fruit baskets, or chocolate biscuits on a Thursday morning. People are up in arms.
In my evil sidekick's firm, they're lucky if they get paid at the end of the month.
Balance, perspective, yes? No?
I just received an e-mail from a faceless drone somewhere - headed up "Budget 2009 - PLEASE READ".
As opposed to what, exactly?
While I don't think it's likely that anyone will ever send out an e-mail in our place headed "PLEASE DELETE WITHOUT READING". there's some merit to putting a hint in the header of an e-mail. Some of this is already done with priority flags - but a long time ago I realised that these relate only to the priority of the sender rather than the recipient - so they're effectively useless. One colleague used to send out all her e-mails marked as urgent - my autofilter assumed they were spam and deleted them unread.
But tagging e-mails might be useful, if done properly. "INFO: ", for example, for things the recipient might find useful, or "HUMOUR: " - obvious really.
Just a thought - I need to kick it around a bit more.
Well, I finally got in to work.
The flight was delayed this morning due to paperwork - the plane's certificate of flightworthiness had expired, and although Ryanair had a new one, it hadn't been lodged with DAA. It was in an office, which was locked, and they couldn't reach the guy that had the key.
Cue announcement, explanation for security reasons that they couldn't let us off the plane, but that we could use our phones and the toilets. So half the plane called up friends and family to moan about Ryanair.
A bit later, someone had found the paperwork, and took it along to DAA.
The pilot had already explained that they didn't have another plane they could transfer us on to. But then they found one! Hurrah! They towed us half way around the airport, still in the plane. They doors to manualled. They opened them to let us off. We all stood up. The paperwork arrived. We all sat down again.
I am enjoying my skimmed milk triple shot latte.
The plane landed at about 9.30, and I got a taxi home, hoping to arrive before the delivery from the furniture people. The delivery had happened at 9.25 - which would have been perfect if I'd been there.
Oh well. Tomorrow.
I'm tired of all this.
Tired of getting up at the crack of dawn on a Monday and flying to Edinburgh before the sun rises.
Tired of spending my entire week doing laundry and ironing. Cleaning and polishing and dusting. Never get black floors.
Tired of getting ten minutes a day chatting with Mr Twinky rather than hours.
Tired of getting home to an empty flat.
On the way to work today, I had something of a revelation.
New stuff happens all the time. New work is created - art, music, graffiti, political speeches, journalism, theatre, cinema, TV shows, web sites, photographs, dirty limericks, malformed half-cocked pub theories, bigotry, food, drink and doodles.
How cool is that?
And what's more, this has been happening for years now. So there must be something out there that I've missed. And so, I thought I'd try to expose myself to something new. Well, new to me.
And so, this week, I have watched the first seven or eight episodes of Smallville.
It's not bad. I wouldn't call it great, but then I wouldn't call the first series of Buffy great either, and that went on to great things before disappearing up itself. It's got a fair amount going for it - the leads are sympathetic and easy on the eye, the effects are great and the scripts don't jar too much.
However it suffers in a number of areas - the plot is the same every week, the message of the week is sometimes layed on with a trowel ("I sometimes feel like I have a secret identity - do you ever feel that way, Clark?") although it's nowhere near as bad as Heroes in that respect. However there's a bit too much of a reset button about the relationships - episodes seem to try to develop the relationship between Clark and Lana only to have everything going back to normal the week after. And when Clark's performing his hugely alien feats to rescue people they're almost invariably unconscious.
I suspect I will stick with it, though - it passes time, it's not something I feel the urge to share with Mr Twinky, my evil sidekick cat, and I'm prepared to give it first-season-benefit-of-the-doubt.