Tag Archives: expression

Seeing the light

20130322 Light Dimmer Switch Face 150x150 Seeing the lightGideon from Amsterdam was doing some DIY and as he removed the cover from one of his dimmer switches he saw a face.  What’s so good about this one is that the nose is 3-dimensional and the face has ears.  It’s a full face with a well defined expression.  It’s got a beaming smile, maybe because it can see the light now that its cover has been removed.

Superb spot Gideon!

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The face of Tower Bridge

20120901 African mask face 150x150 The face of Tower BridgeJen and Sal, avid face hunters saw this in the engine rooms of Tower Bridge.  Jen writes:

“This is a face we saw in the engine rooms of Tower Bridge. It did seem a tad out of place here hence the glum expression.”

I have to say it reminds me of a gas mask or something similar.

Thanks for the pictures Jen and Sal and sorry it’s taken so long to upload!

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Smiling is the Key…

20120815 Polish Hotel Key Fob Face 150x150 Smiling is the Key...And so is the key fob.  Gideon sent in this picture of a key fob used to open the car park gate at his hotel in Poland.  It’s pretty cool and has a bit of a wry smile.  It’s funny how inanimate objects appear to have a fixed expression sometimes.  People often accuse me of looking like I’m in a permanent state of shock.  That’s kind of insulting on two levels: 1) I am not an inanimate object; I am a Vaxian and 2) I always thought I was much more handsome than that…

Nice picture Gideon! Apologies for the delay in uploading it; I have been busy and so has the Editor.

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How long’s a piece of string?

20110320 Catenary window smile chippenham station 150x150 How longs a piece of string?

“In a few moments time this train will be calling at Bristol Temple Meads, where this service will terminate.  Bristol Temple Meads your final station stop.  All change please, all change.”

This is a second most familiar announcement to those regularly travelling on the Great Western Railway line between London and Bristol, the most familiar being, “We’re sorry that the 1709 First Great Western service to Bristol Temple Meads is delayed by approximately 23 minutes”.  Public transport.  We loves it.

This is a photograph of Chippenham station.  There is currently a Portakabin situated near the front gate with an LV power supply dangling beneath a couple of windows.  I spotted it the other day as I walked past.  Those of you who have read other posts will notice that a lot of things happen “the other day”.  I find it a useful phrase for any unspecified date in the past, either forgotten or not important to the flow of the article.

Time is interesting in that it is very subjective and perceptions of it vary from one moment to the next and from person to person.  You might have your head down, engrossed in something for hours and it will feel like minutes.  On the other hand you might be clock-watching in a boring meeting that lasts only an hour.  Only an hour, I say!  Again that depends.  If you were given a free shopping spree for an hour, à la Supermarket Sweep, it would be great.  But if you had to walk home for an hour carrying what you had just “purchased” it would be less so.  Is an hour long or short?

There is a fantastic Indonesian expression “Karet!” which means “rubber” but alludes to the stretchiness of elastic bands in reference to a relaxed attitude to timekeeping.  In Britain we are terrible at timekeeping.  If a party is billed to start at 8.30pm, expect the first guests to arrive around 9.00pm.  It’s known as being fashionably late… or something.  On the one hand, everyone accepts it and it’s a way of life.  On the other hand people expect punctuality – especially when you have paid for it, like public transport.  My continental upbringing has taught me punctuality and I try to make an effort to be somewhere on time if it matters.  5 minutes here and there is forgivable, especially on a weekday when people have busy lives, running from work to social engagements in the evening.

So, exactly how long is a few moments?  Are you ready for some screwball logic?  Are you ready to have a few moments of your life wasted?  Bear with me while I take you on a quasi-philosophical journey.

Firstly the definition of a few is somewhat open to interpretation.  I understand a few to mean any undefined small number for which there is no name or set phrase.  Perhaps by looking at it in the context of weeks, a clearer understanding can be gained.  If someone told you “a few weeks”, most people (according to a quick Google search) would say the answer is three.  After all, seven days is a week, a fortnight is two, a month is four and a dozen is a quarter.  All numbers in between are small undefined numbers.  On this basis a few could then be quantified as three, five or any number between six and 11 (inclusive).  In the words of Aleksandr Orlov: Simples!

Having quantified a few, how long is a moment?  I understand a moment to be longer than an instant.  An instant is something instantaneous but greater than zero – it is the shortest non-zero quantity of time possible.  It is infinitesimal (if we neglect Planck Time).  That’s the lower bound, but what about the longest duration of a moment?  Following the same screwball logic as before, the largest quantity of time a moment can be is that quantity of time for which no single set phrase exists.  The answer then, is any duration of time upto a minute but not a minute itself – so 59 seconds to the nearest tick on your average clock.

So how long is a few moments?  It is unquantifiable but I am pleased to present to you a solution in terms of a range, for the first time in human history: it has a lower bound of 3 seconds and an upper bound of 10 minutes 49 seconds, or if you’re that way inclined:

00:00:3 ≤ A few moments ≤ 00:10:49

The average would be 5 minutes and 26 seconds.  Maths geeks will no doubt be jumping up and down shouting at the screen, pointing out that I should have used 60 seconds as the upper bound for a moment and then used a less than symbol instead of less than or equal to but 59 gives more interesting numbers and I have tried to fudge a reason for using that instead…

Next time someone asks you for a few moments of your time get your stopwatch out and hold them to account.  I know I won’t.  If only trains ran on time this thought would never have occurred to me.  Now, how long’s a piece of string…

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A man of integrity

20110116 Two faced Hole Punch 300x225 A man of integrityEverybody hates two-faced people.  Everybody has encountered someone at one point in their lives that has been two-faced.  Sometimes it is done for the sake of diplomacy, saying one thing in public and something else in private, in order not to hurt someone’s feelings.  It’s a way of maintaining peace, harmony and cohesion within and between social groups, like telling white lies for the greater good… or something.  I am by no means a social scientist and only speak from experience.  I find human interactions fascinating because of the complexities.  This can sometimes be frustrating, however.  Wouldn’t it be much easier if we could just say it like it is?  Would we become less human as a result?  Would we end up punching holes in each other?   I beg your pardon?  The reason I ask…

This hole punch has appeared in a previous post entitled “A bodge job to be proud of…“, and when I turned it over I found a second face on the underside, the expression the same as on the top.  This little guy is two-faced but his public face is the same as his private (hidden) face.  He is a man of integrity.

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Technology overkill

20101020 Romsey Handwash Station 225x300 Technology overkillYou know those clever handwash stations, where you stick your hands in and they automatically dispense soap onto your sleeve, drench you and then proceed to apply heat to bake the soap onto your clothes? Is it me, or is it technology for the sake of it? Apart from this they have another downside to them in that the user is forced to hog one appliance for the duration of its operational sequence. In other words, whilst one person is drying their hands, the next person can’t wash theirs. A particular annoyance is when someone doesn’t finish the “drying cycle” and walks off, the dryer doesn’t seem to be clever enough to switch off and reset, so the next user must wait for the cycle to end before they can wash their hands. I have seen people not bother as a consequence. But on the upside, when framed in a certain way they have this delightful face with an open-mouthed expression. You can even see its uvula.

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